Nadal’s nose bloodied by his own racket at the US Open in victory

NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal was cut on the bridge of his nose by his own racket when it left the court following a shot, leaving himself bloodied and dazed during his second-round victory at the US Open. .

Play was delayed for about five minutes during a medical timeout in the fourth set of his 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 win against Fabio Fognini at Arthur Ashe Stadium in a match that started the night of Thursday. and ended after midnight on Friday.

A strange, and briefly horrifying, scene ensued as Nadal immediately grimaced, dropped his racket, put a palm to his face and then put both hands to his head. He said in his post-match press conference that he immediately thought he might have broken his nose, which continued to swell.

He said it was a “shock” when it happened and he felt “a bit out of the world”.

However, Nadal managed to joke about it all. Asked during his on-court interview if that had ever happened to him, he laughed and replied: “With a golf club but not with a tennis racket.”

How did he feel?

“Well, a little dazed at first,” said Nadal, who has won four of his 22 Grand Slam titles at the US Open, most recently in 2019, the last time he entered the hard-court tournament. “A little painful.”

The episode came on the first match point with Nadal leading 3-0 in the fourth set and clearly in command after conceding the opening set for the second consecutive match this week.

The 36-year-old from Spain was moving to his right when he hit a backhand. After making contact with the ball, his racket bounced off the ground and hit him in the nose.

He went to the side and lay down, waiting for the coach, and Fognini went to check on Nadal.

“He told me everything was fine,” Fognini later said. “I hope it’s nothing serious.”

After putting a bandage on his nose, Nadal continued to play. He would lose that game, but not another, improving to 21-0 in Grand Slam matches in 2022.

Nadal won the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June for his 14th title there, then reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in July before an abdominal problem forced him to retire (which doesn’t go in the books as a loss). .

The match with Foghini, who beat him at the US Open in 2015, did not start auspiciously for Nadal. His shots were off target and he quickly fell behind.

“For more than an hour and a half, I wasn’t competing,” Nadal said. “One of the worst starts, possibly, ever.”

The second set was hardly pretty for either, filled with poor play from both: They combined for 39 unforced errors and just nine winners, seven serves and just three holds.

“I was lucky, honestly, that Fabio made some mistakes in that second set,” Nadal admitted.

When Nadal fired a backhand into the net, Fognini broke to lead 3-2, then went ahead 4-2. But from there, it was Fognini who fell, losing four shots in a row to break to love as part of a four-game run by Nadal to make it a set.

“With Nadal, you can’t mess with him,” Fognini said. “I let him back into the match and he just kept getting better from there.”

In the third, Nadal hit a particularly perfect shot – a forehand on the run that deflected Fognini’s header down the line for a smash winner for 4-2. Nadal’s momentum carried him to the edge of the stands, where thousands were on their feet, and he punched the air and shouted, “Vamos!”

Shortly after, that set also belonged to Nadal and he would collect 16 of the last 19 games.

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More AP coverage of US Open tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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