Rafael Nadal loses in second round of Cincinnati Masters, beaten by Borna Coric

Rafael Nadal went down in three sets to Borna Coric in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

Rafa was pushed to the limit and beyond in what was his first match since an abdominal tear forced him out of Wimbledon.

Croatia’s Coric started strong against the world number three, absorbing Rafa’s best shots and returning them in kind.

Both men saved two set points before the 25-year-old claimed first blood in a lengthy tiebreak.

Rafa then rallied in the second, making the most of his lone break point opportunity to force a deciding third set.

However, he was ultimately unable to keep up with his younger opponent in the third, giving up an early break which Coric rode to a 7-6 (9) 4-6 6-3 victory in Cincinnati.

“Obviously I didn’t play my best match. It’s something that can happen. Historically this tournament has been difficult for me,” the second seed said.

“So coming back from a tough period of time, it’s something that is easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna that he played better.”

He later added: “For some weird reason at this tournament I never had the best feelings. On the other hand, I felt very welcome here all the time.”

“A lot of times coming back from injuries I have done positive things, but in this particular case, it’s obvious that I was not ready enough to win the match,” he said.

“You lose. You move forward. I know the way. The main thing for me is to stay healthy. It has been a difficult injury to manage, to be honest. The last month and a half haven’t been easy because having a tear on the abdominal, you don’t know when it is 100%. So that affects a little bit in terms of not sure if you are able to try your best in every serve.”

Source: PA Sports


  1. Gill Gross’ match analysis. Here’s what I took away from it:

    Rafa’s serve was broken only once, despite the double faults. The problem was his weak returns on Coric’s second serve, which Coric took advantage of, and the high number of unforced errors.
    Coric’s doesn’t fear Rafa game and his own style is rather like Djokovic’s. He has a strong serve and cross court backhand, which Rafa found difficult to cope with.

    Check out the full analysis on YouTube.

    There’s plenty for Rafa to work on and as Gill Gross said, he’ll have more time to work himself into match form over the best of five set matches at the USO. He’ll put the loss behind him and walk away from Cinci with his head held high. I’m praying that there’s no residual ab injury lurking.

    • Thanks Lorna. I was wondering why Rafa had such a hard time on his return of serve. I was expecting possible trouble with his serve but not so much aside from the double faults.

      • You’re welcome, David. I know you’ll find Gill’s full analysis interesting.

  2. RNF, I would like to know why an ad for silver dollars with the likeness of the 45th president of my country, the United States of America, is showing up on this post? If you click the link, the ad is filled with propaganda. This ad has nothing to do with the US government. I am truly appalled.

  3. Hope you are healthy after the match. Many of the players look weary in those Cincy conditions; best of luck as you prepare for Flushing Meadows👏💪👍🤛🎾🍀❤️

    • Great workout for our champ. 3 set loss is exactly what he needed to test himself fitness wise. And he passed!

      Now Rafa can work on whatever he thinks needs tweaking; he has ample time before the US Open.

  4. Overall, Coric was more aggressive and made better use of his opportunities. Rafa had his chances, but failed to capitalise and in the end, numerous double proved to be too costly. At least the early exit will give Rafa more time to fix things.

    • Lorna, from his presser I got the impression that he became distracted by a twinge he felt at or near a scar. He stated that it’s thin and will have it checked out. I don’t know what he did to have a scar because I thought it was bandaging to restrict movement.

      • Yes, Margo. I heard Rafa say that too in his presser. It may explain why he looked a bit tentative in some of his rally shots and the high number of double faults. I guess we just have to wait and see what else is revealed.

      • Thanks for that Lorna. I thought I was imagining what I heard. Exhausted, a million things to do and worry about our incredible champ.

        My fingers [and toes] are crossed that he’s okay. I hope his medical checkup assures him he is fine so he can play freely.

  5. Perhaps this is a good thing. It’ll give Rafa plenty time to rest before the US Open begins. I believe he still has a chance to become ranked No 1 again by the end of this year.
    I certainly hope this becomes a reality.
    Good luck Rafa. Good health.

  6. I watched the match, it was pretty close and competitive between the two. Rafa did look abit rusty on some of his shots and had more double faults than usual, but the good news is that he didn’t’ appear to have any problems serving, so hopefully the ab injury has healed. Too bad he doesn’t get more matches in before the US Open, but am just happy to see him back!!

Leave a Reply