PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Nadal’s disaster comeback match at the Cincinnati Masters leaves the Spaniard lagging in the chase for the top ATP ranking.
Nadal was ambushed 7-6 (11/9), 4-6, 6-3 in his second-round start by Croat Borna Coric, ending his hopes of overtaking Daniil Medvedev for the world number one rankings.
Top seed Medvedev, who plays on Thursday for a quarterfinal spot against Denis Shapovalov, can tighten his grip on his current top position heading into the US Open.
Third-ranked Nadal was rocked by his loss after six weeks away as he healed an abdominal muscle injury that forced his withdrawal from a Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios.
Now Nadal goes into the U.S. Open, which begins on August 29 in New York, with only one summer hardcourt match.
The 36-year-old Spaniard with 22 Grand Slam titles said he hopes to feed off fan energy at the U.S. Open, where Nadal won titles in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019.
“There is an energy the crowd gives me in New York. It’s a very special place for me,” Nadal said.
“I’ve had unforgettable moments there and I’m going to try my very best every single day to be ready for that.”