Borna Coric defeated Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati Open in what was the Spaniard’s first match since suffering an abdominal injury which forced him out of Wimbledon.
The Croatian beat Nadal 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an absorbing encounter on his return, after Rafa sat out the Canadian Open to heal from his injury.
Despite looking rusty, Nadal managed to take the first set into a tiebreaker and managed to force two set-points which Coric had to defend before eventually prevailing. Nadal, though, stormed back in the second before running out of steam in the final set.
Coric, after his win at the Cincinnati Open, is only the second player on the ATP Tour other than Djokovic to have a better head-to-head record against Nadal after at least five meetings (3-2).
Nadal will have little time as he looks to bounce back and add the U.S Open to his Australian Open and French Open crowns this year.
Meanwhile, in other encounters, Cameron Norrie ended compatriot Andy Murray’s run in the tournament with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win while Taylor Fritz beat Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 in a dominant showing.
Roberto Bautista Agut, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov and John Isner also continued their journies.
In the women’s bracket, Emma Raducanu of Britain, after ousting Serena Williams in her last appearance at Cincinnati Open, produced another impressive performance to eliminate Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2.
Women’s World Number 1 Iga Swiatek also had a strong outing with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sloane Stephens while Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina easily overcame Garbiñe Muguruza 6-3, 6-1.
Canadian Open champion Simona Halep had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury while Aryna Sabalenka, Alison Riske, Ons Jabeur, Zhang Shuai, and Jessica Pegula also made it into the next round.