Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open
Rafael Nadal dropped first set defending champion Rinky Hijikata in the second round of the United States Open Tennis Association (USTA) national championships Sunday in New York. Hijikata, who played all five sets against the world No. 1, lost the opening set 6-3, and Nadal led 2-0 in the second, after a win against qualifier John Isner in the second round.The Spaniard, who fell apart in the semi-finals to his arch-rival Roger Federer, took the next four sets on his own. Hijikata, the top-ranked American in the world, who had previously faced Federer at the Open championships also lost his second set to Federer, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The victory sets up a quarter-final and semis against second-ranked Djokovic of Serbia, and an all-time great, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of South Africa who plays his first match with the top American player in the quarter-final.
Nadal’s victory was his 24th of the year and third at this USTA tournament, which he won in 2003 and 2006. He defeated No. 3 seed Milos Raonic in the first round before losing a tight match to No. 2 seed Andy Murray.
The tournament will now take on the format of a two-week marathon, in which the top six seeds play the quarter-finals over the two week period, followed by the semifinals and the final.
Meanwhile, Federer, the No. 1 in the world, also played his first match at the US Open since he suffered a knee injury in the 2007 finals.
Federer made an exciting comeback from his