Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open (Photos)
Roland Garros: No.1 Rafael Nadal drops first set, but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata to reach third round
Rafael Nadal and Rinky Hijikata went toe-to-toe during Friday afternoon’s second round match in Paris. Hijikata broke Nadal in the opening game of the second set to lead 6-4, but Nadal fought back, serving for the match point when a bad backhand drop-shot went long.
Nadal had more success in the third set, serving for the match point when Hijikata got the worst bounce of the match in a tiebreaker. But the Spaniard would not drop the set.
Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round at the US Open after defeating Rinky Hijikata in the opening round. (Photo: Getty Images)
Nadal, seeded fifth at 20, has won nine of his last 11 matches in Paris, including two on hardcourts and three straight on clay. Hijikata, who is seeded 23rd, has won only two times over two grand slam appearances (the 2011 French Open and last June’s US Open when he was beaten in the second round by eventual semifinalist Robin Soderling).
The 23rd-seeded Hijikata made short work of the former world No. 1, which has become the latest victim of the clay-court bug. Hijikata never trailed after the opening set and saved five of his six break points, none of which were a break-back.