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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Rafael Nadal falls to Nick Kyrgios in straight sets

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Rafael Nadal claimed his only Cincinnati Masters title in 2013, during his perfect North American summer. Rafa suffered early losses in his next two trips to Ohio, hoping for a better run in 2017. Nadal took down Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos-Vinolas to secure his seventh Cincinnati quarter-final.

Rafa faced Nick Kyrgios in a battle for the semi-final and experienced a 6-2, 7-5 loss in 80 minutes to hit the exit door. It was the day’s second match for both, and Nick preserved more energy to score a notable victory.

Pumped by a big stage and a great rival on the other side of the net, Nick kept the focus without the usual mistakes or tantrums, motivated to show his best tennis. He overwhelmed Rafa in every segment, dropping 15 points in ten service games and fending off two out of three break chances to keep focus.

Nick Kyrgios defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Cincinnati 2017.

The Aussie was a more determined player, keeping his backhand safe and making 16 errors in the entire clash. His groundstrokes were deep and potent, forcing Nadal to stay out of balance and struggle to impose his strokes.

Unable to find a proper answer in his games and mount some pressure on his opponent, Rafa got broken four times to propel the Aussie over the top. Not trusting his strokes, Nadal sprayed too many mistakes and stood miles behind the baseline in attempts to return Nick’s bombs from serve.

Also, Rafa got broken at love right after stealing the rival’s serve, which we do not often see in his matches. Kyrgios had 21 service winners while Nadal stayed on 13, and it was 16-12 in the winners from the field for a younger player.

Nick had 11 unforced errors, nine less than Nadal, who hit 13 from his forehand and seven from a backhand side. 66% of the points ended within four shots, and Nick was 45-29 in front. He also had a 21-17 advantage in extended exchanges to seal the deal in straight sets.

Nick was off to a flying start, taking the opening four games in 13 minutes after making a single error! The Aussie secured the set with a hold in game eight after 25 minutes. He clinched another break at 2-2 in set number two to take another big step towards the finish line.

Until 5-4, Kyrgios had dropped only eight points behind the initial shot. However, he suffered a break in the worst moment to bring Rafa back to 5-5. It was not to be for Nadal, though, as he got broken at love in game 11 and allowed Kyrgios to seal the deal with three winners a few minutes later.

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