Rafael Nadal Raises Injury Concerns As He Struggles To Win Against Jack Sock at Citi Open 2021 R1

Published 08/04/2021, 10:29 PM EDT
Aug 3, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand during a practice session at the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports


20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal made his much-anticipated debut at the Citi Open 2021 in Washington, D.C. Although he was returning after two months to tennis, he put on an amazing show against Jack Sock in the second round battle. Eventually, he took down the American 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1).

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More than anything, the encounter between Nadal and Sock was seemingly a perfect evening show for the crowds in the capital city. The duo also put forward their A-1 tennis to give the fans what they expected.

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Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock: Set 1

Despite being a little rusty, Nadal got his engines running in minutes from the start of the match. Accordingly, even Sock did not fall short to reciprocate equally.

Aug 3, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand during a practice session at the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimately, the consistency from the Spaniard gave him the first breakthrough in the opening set. Soon after, as the legend of the sport, Nadal closed the opening set at 6-2.

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Nadal vs Sock: Set 2

Even though the opening set did not work out for the American, Sock did everything to stay close to his opponent. Accordingly, he found his momentum to push Nadal behind.

Jack Sock of Team World celebrates match point in his singles match against Fabio Fognini of Team Europe during Day One of the Laver Cup 2019 at Palexpo on September 20, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

At 3-3, the 28-year-old found his way in and converted the second breakpoint to lead in the second. Afterwards, the duo battled rigorously to go into the next round.

Later on, Nadal saved three set points to keep the set alive but could not recover his loss in the next game. As a result, the match levelled at 6-2, 4-6.

Nadal vs Sock: Final Set

Surpringly, a drop in level from the Spaniard meant total advantage for Sock. Accordingly, the American got the first break in the opening game of the decider set.

Furthermore, at 0-1, Sock saved a crucial breakpoint and gave himself in a comfortable two games to nil lead. Nevertheless, he had to keep his momentum going. And given the crowd going wild for Rafa, it seemed a bigger challenge.

Unsurpiringly, the Spaniard kicked back in taking three games in a row for a 4-3 lead in the final set. At 5-4, Nadal asked Sock to stretch the set to seven games and so the American did.

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Concerinngly, Nadal wasn’t walking well between the points because of Kohler’s, a congenital issue he has on his left foot. It is a condition where one of the bones did not grow to the full.

Although it might have also kept him away from tennis in the early days, it is now more delicate than ever given the phase of his career.

Coming to the match, both players wanted to win, and so they pushed the match to the decider tie-breaker. Consequently, Nadal finally put his feet down despite the inward struggle, closing the match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1).

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In the pre-quaters, Nadal will take on the South African professional Llyod Harris. Can he complete a remarkable return story, lifting the Citi Open title on his debut?

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Purav Joshi

1131 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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