Rafael Nadal encountered a nail-biting defeat against Borna Coric at last year’s Cincinnati Masters, marking a challenging chapter in his journey.
Following an abdominal injury at the previous year’s Wimbledon, Nadal’s path to Cincinnati involved skipping Montreal and making a comeback on the court. Set against Borna Coric in the second round in Ohio, Nadal found himself engaged in a grueling battle that extended for two hours and 51 minutes, resulting in a 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 loss.
This marked Nadal’s earliest exit in almost six years, casting a shadow over his preparations for the upcoming US Open. In the wake of his Wimbledon injury, Nadal’s training had been limited, and his serve was not at the level he aspired for it to be in Cincinnati.
Speaking about his training efforts, Nadal shared how he exerted himself against Borna Coric, displaying remarkable determination and battling until the final moments. Despite his commitment, Nadal missed opportunities in the opening set and ultimately succumbed to a crucial break in the deciding set, leading to his departure from the tournament. Notably, there were only three break chances throughout the entire match, with both players capitalizing on one return game each in sets two and three.
In the first set, Borna Coric had an opportunity at 3-3, but the set proceeded to a tiebreak following a rain delay. Despite a valiant effort, Nadal was unable to convert the set point at 6-5, and Borna Coric fought off the challenges at 6-7 and 8-7, resulting in Nadal conceding the opener after an hour and 14 minutes.
Nadal found his rhythm in the second set, securing a pivotal break at 3-3 after a loose forehand from Coric. This enabled Nadal to establish a lead at 5-3 with a net winner, and he eventually clinched the set at 5-4, forcing a decisive third set. Remarkably, both players maintained a service percentage below 50% in the final set, yet only lost a total of 11 points in their respective service games.
Borna Coric remained consistent, producing five comfortable service holds and keeping the pressure on throughout the set. Coric capitalized on Nadal’s errors, securing a crucial break at 3-2, which propelled him to a 4-2 lead. Ultimately, Borna Coric served for victory at 5-4, displaying a strong forehand to seal the deal and earn a significant triumph.
Reflecting on the match, Rafael Nadal shared his perspective, stating, “I approached my practice sessions in Cincinnati with a more relaxed mindset. Despite not fully pushing my serve against Borna Coric, I gave my all and fought tenaciously until the end. My focus remains on diligent preparation for the US Open and delivering competitive performances.”
In summary, Rafael Nadal’s unwavering commitment and fierce determination were evident in his hard-fought match against Borna Coric. Despite the challenges he faced, Nadal showcased his dedication to his craft and expressed his determination to continue striving for success on the court.
Sports Fan King