- Nadal faced Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata
- Rinky Hijikata is ranked world 198th
- Nadal now proceeds into the second round of US Open 2022
US Open 2022: Overcoming the early scare in Flushing Meadows, Tennis legend and four-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. The 36-year-old superstar stamped his authority on the tournament as he emerged victorious with 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 over his 198th-ranked opponent.
The 36-year-old Spaniard who is on the hunt for his 23rd Grand Slam title and the third title of 2022 will now face Fabio Fognini. As far as the rivalry between these two opponents is concerned, Nadal holds a 13-4 career lead over the Italian but on the contrary Fognini inflicted a famous defeat on Nadal as he defeated the legend from two sets down in the third round of the US Open in the year 2015.
Nadal who was elated by this victory in the first round said “I am extremely happy to be back and it has been a long time since I participated here. I was under the impression that I might never come back after 2019”. The Spaniard whose participation in the tournament was loads of scrutiny and uncertainty has now made the entire world look at him in awe. Before this, Nadal had been dealing with an injury cloud after an abdominal strain which forced him to forfeit his Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal looked pretty rusty against Rinky Hijikata at the start but he resumed his normal business with breaks in the second and eighth games of the second set bringing him into even grounds. The Tennis legend wrapped up the tie on a crucial fifth match point which guaranteed him a victory as he proceeds to round 2. Novak Djokovic is missing from the US this year as he refused to get vaccinated.