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Rafael Nadal struggles to win in US Open debut with wife and baby's health on his mind

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal returned to the US Open after three years and although he surprisingly lost the first set to Grand Slam debutant Rinky Hijikata, he recovered to win in four sets by 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

Nadal improved to 20-0 in matches on the ATP tour's main tournaments, but tonight he suffered more than enough against the young Australian, who forced him to endure a match lasting more than three hours at Arthur Ashe Stadium, something not advisable for an injury-ravaged veteran.

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How recovered is Nadal from his injuries?

The Palma de Mallorca-born tennis player showed no pain related to the torn abdominal muscle that forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon before the semifinals.

The greatest Grand Slam winner in history has won the US Open four times, the last time before the pandemic. In 2021 he was unable to participate due to a left foot injury.

However, he is now looking to take advantage of Serbian Novak Djokovic's absence from the tournament to take the lead as the greatest Grand Slam winner in history, seeking his 23rd title, to 21 for "Nole", who is unable to play because of his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Hijikata, 21, meanwhile, reached the tournament on a wild-card for playing college tennis in North Carolina.

Nadal's concern for his wife and baby's health

However, the Mallorcan is not having a good time off the courts, as it was reported that his wife, Mery Perelló, is hospitalized in a clinic in Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca, as a precautionary measure for her pregnancy.

Although the baby is reported to be out of danger and Mery is recovering, the doctors indicated that she will have to remain a few weeks in the hospital for observation and Rafa's sister is keeping an eye on her evolution.

However, Rafa's concern remains latent, since he is on the other side of the ocean. Maybe that's why he was slow to get into rhythm tonight at Flushing Meadows.

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