Rafael Nadal was stranded in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane ATP tournament on Friday. The 22-time Grand Slam winner was eliminated by Australian Jordan Thompson despite three match points: 7-5, 6-7 (6) and 3-6.
The 37-year-old Nadal made up for a break deficit in the first set and struck at 5-5 on his opponent’s serve. In the second set, the Spaniard dropped three match points, after which he saw Thompson strike in the tiebreak. Then the party turned.
In the deciding set, the Australian quickly ran away from Nadal and took a 4-1 lead. The 22-time Grand Slam winner was no longer playing freely and seemed to be suffering from an upper leg injury. He disappeared into the catacombs for injury treatment.
After an interruption of about ten minutes, Nadal was able to resume the match, after which both players retained their service games. Thompson ended the game on his first match point after a long rally.
In the semi-finals Thompson will face another major opponent. He will face world number fourteen and three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov. If he wins, he will face Holger Rune or Roman Safiullin in the final. As global number eight, Rune is number one on the placement list.
Nadal had an excellent return
Nadal makes his return in Brisbane after almost a year of absence. He was out of action for a long time due to a hip injury and had two operations. Normally 2024 is his last year of tennis.
Nadal had a more difficult time against Thompson (ATP-55), partly due to his own mistakes, than in his previous two matches. He had started the tournament in Brisbane with a victory over Dominic Thiem. On Thursday he was too strong for Thompson’s compatriot Jason Kubler.
Nadal worked in Brisbane towards the Australian Open, which starts on January 14. The former world number one won the first Grand Slam tournament of the year in 2009 and 2022.
The post first appeared on www.nu.nl