Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam Match at Flushing Meadows

Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam Match at Flushing Meadows

Rafael Nadal overcomes Fabio Fognini in four sets in US Open second round

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One great thing about Rafael Nadal’s second Grand Slam tournament to come, of course, was that it was not as much of a fluke. It was the kind of second-round match he has played often, the kind of one-set-wonder he has often been.

As Nadal’s tournament entered the third set last night, he made his way to a 4-1 lead. Though he had a tendency to go into such mode, he was far too astute to get in a headlock over a backhand into a corner.

This time, Nadal was in control, dominating at Flushing Meadows. But the second set came in, and he made his point, which was the one he had hoped to make on that day: that he could turn a 5-2 break point, into an 8-6 lead.

This match was exactly as it had to be on his part. Nadal made a break of his own in the set, with a forehand down the line, hitting a double fault. With his first set under control, he made no more mistakes. He served for the match at 5-4.

Nadal was serving out of a break point in the second set when he gave it back with another backhand error, followed by a lob to the floor. Nadal had not lost a set on his way to two titles, and this was the kind of game that he would surely have won.

But Nadal took off his shirt afterwards, and went out and gave Nadia Petrosyan a surprise exhibition of respect, the kind of respect that is often seen in his career but very much lacking at times.

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