‘I don’t understand’ – Rafael Nadal survives ‘one of the worst starts ever’
Rafael Nadal is happy to come through his second round US Open match where for large portions he played very poorly against a potentially tricky opponent in Fabio Fognini.
The 22-time Slam champion counted himself lucky that the Italian dropped his level after going 6-2, 4-2 up as Nadal came back to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.
The two men combined for 97 unforced errors over the match to 44 winners, including a second set of 39 unforced errors to just nine winners.
“For more than an hour and a half I was not competing,” Nadal admitted to Patrick McEnroe in his post-match interview. “One of the worst starts probably ever. That’s part of the game. You need to stay humble and accept the situation.
“[I’m] happy after a terrible start,” Nadal revealed later in his post-match press conference. “I don’t understand yet how I started that bad because the feeling before the match was good.
“I am practising much, much better than what I am playing. That’s a positive thing.
“Then I need to make that happen on the matches. It’s something that is not easy. But I’m making a step forward.”
Nadal has now dropped the opening set in both of his first two US Open matches against wildcard Rinky Hijikata and Fognini, the first time he has done so at a Slam sine Wimbledon 2014.
That streak is likely to end as Nadal faces Richard Gasquet next, a man he has never lost to at tour level in 17 meetings, and against whom he has not dropped a set in 12 encounters stretching back to 2008.
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