Rafael Nadal wins U.S. Open semis

Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open

Rafael Nadal drops first set, but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open

Nov. 26, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s win in the semi’s at the U.S. Open was a little less comfortable than he had expected.

He fell behind 5-0 in the opening set against qualifier Rinky Hijikata before winning seven of the last eight points in the last half hour to advance to his first major quarterfinals since Wimbledon in 2009.

Nadal, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, was bidding to become the first man since the legendary Jimmy Connors to go all the way to the fourth round at the tournament’s long clay court tradition. He had been a two-time runner-up.

But he has yet to make it. He’ll meet fellow 20-year-old Denis Kudla of the Czech Republic in the third round.

Nadal’s quarterfinal match was suspended at 1-2 with a double break in the third set. With 3-5 on his serve in the fourth, Nadal rallied when Hijikata hit a backhand into the net for the third match point, but Hijikata came back and pulled off the last 5-6 6-3.

“After a very bad start, I was determined that it will be a good one but I think it was one moment too many,” Nadal said.

He led 5-2 and never looked back, completing the set with the third-set tiebreaker to force a deciding set on the second day.

Nadal was down, 1-0, in the set, but broke the serve of Hijikata with a backhand to end a tiebreaker. Then he broke back in the next game to get his first break in the seventh game of the set and held for 5-1 to take the first set.

Nadal had been trailing 4-1 in the first set when he converted a break point for 1-1 in the first game of the second on his fourth service

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