“I am very happy to be back. It’s been a long time since I played here. I thought I might never come back,” Nadal said after the game. He last won the title in New York in 2019.
Nadal had a difficult start against the 21-year-old Australian. Hijikata, who is making his grand slam debut, took a break in the seventh game to take the first set. “I didn’t even start that bad, but after that I had some opportunities that I didn’t use. I didn’t serve very well and he took the break. Then I got a little nervous,” said the 36-year-old Spaniard.
Nadal recovered and almost didn’t get into trouble in the following sets. Only at 4-3 in the fourth set did Hijikata get chances on Nadal’s service, but he came back and took the game. In the following game, the Australian cleared four more match points, but Nadal struck in the fifth.
“The first game here in New York after three years. In the evening, it’s always exciting and I had some difficult moments,” Nadal admitted. “It was my second match in about fifty days. It was not yet the day to play perfectly, but one to get the job done. And I did that.”
Watch Nadal’s beautiful match point here:
Title holder Raducanu loses in first round US Open
Title holder Emma Raducanu has lost in the first round of the US Open to the French Alize Cornet. The French was too strong for the British Raducanu in 1 hour and 42 minutes with 6-3 6-3.
The British is only the third female defending champion in Grand Slam history to lose in the first round of the subsequent tournament. The last time that happened was in 2017, when it happened to the German Angelique Kerber.
“Obviously I am disappointed and very sad to have to leave here again,” said the 19-year-old British who won her first and only WTA title at the US Open last year after starting in the qualifiers. “But somehow I’m also happy, because I can now continue with a clean slate.”
Watch the final point of Raducanu’s match here:
Venus Williams home
Venus Williams has failed to follow her sister Serena’s lead at the US Open. The two-time champion was defeated in the first round 6-1 7-6 (5) by the Belgian Alison van Uytvanck.
The 42-year-old Venus Williams last won a match at the US Open in 2019, the tournament she won in 2000 and 2001.
For Venus Williams it was only her fourth game of 2022. She did not book a win this year.
On Monday evening local time, the two years younger Serena Williams did win. The 23-time Grand Slam champion, most likely in her final tournament, recently announced that she is looking forward to the next phase in her life. Venus Williams has not yet announced her plans for the future.
Kazakh Elena Rybakina, who was the best at Wimbledon this summer, was eliminated in the first round. The number 25 in the world lost 6-4 6-4 to the French Clara Burel.
Former winner Osaka stranded in first round
Naomi Osaka has been eliminated in the first round of the US Open. The two-time winner of the American grand slam tournament lost in New York in two sets to the American Danielle Collins: 7-6 (5) 6-3.
The 28-year-old Collins was this year’s finalist of the Australian Open, where she lost the final battle to the now retired Ashleigh Barty. Osaka, former number 1 in the world, won the US Open in 2018 and 2020, but had a difficult start this year. In Toronto, the 24-year-old Japanese gave up due to back problems, in Cincinnati she also lost in the first round.
Osaka started well and took a 3-0 lead in the first set. Collins, however, fought back and was the best in the tiebreak. In the second set, the American made it 5-3. Osaka got two more break chances in the next game, but Collins struck on her first match point.
Osaka fades from the scene early in New York:
Swiatek is only down three games
Iga Swiatek has only lost three games in her first game at the US Open. The Polish number 1 in the world left the Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-0 without a chance.
Swiatek finished it on her second game point after 1 hour and 6 minutes at Louis Armstrong Stadium. “I managed to get her to walk more and more and played better and better. I like these kinds of competitions because they are good tests for me and I can carry out the things I’ve trained,” said the Polish who has been dominant this year.
Swiatek had a difficult preparation for the US Open. Where she was undefeated for months, she lost three times early between Wimbledon and the US Open. In Toronto and Cincinnati, two important preparation tournaments, she got stuck in the third round.
The 21-year-old Swiatek has never progressed beyond the fourth round at the US Open. Last year she lost in the last sixteen to the Swiss Belinda Bencic.