Nadal advances, Muguruza drops out of U.S Open
Rafael Nadal defeated Italy’s Andreas Seppi in straight sets of the epic match in Arthur Ashe Stadium; offering a moment of history as the roof was closed for the first time during a match.
However, the other Spaniard, third-seeded Garbine Muguruza lost to Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets. Stepping to serve first in their encounter, Nadal paused a few times for the crowd to settle down. Then he missed his first service delivery. The second serve resulted in a long rally and Nadal netted a forehand. He also lost the second point of the match but delivered a service winner to level.
A service return error gave Nadal game point, which he clinched after four consecutive drives to Seppi’s backhand elicited an error. Seppi lost the first point on his serve but got the lead at 30-15, only to face break point at 30-40. He got to deuce on a netted shot but lost the game to fall behind 0-2.
The problem with first delivery continued as Nadal dropped the first point of third game. A one-handed backhand slice got him to level. The din from the stadium crowd made Nadal halt while the Chair Umpire appealed for silence. Nadal missed his vintage reverse crosscourt forehand and faced two break points at 15-40. He won a 25-shot rally and made a volley winner to deuce. A service winner gave him the third game.
Seppi got only one point in conceding the fourth game, but Nadal consolidated the lead despite the echo from the acoustic of the half open dome because of the conical shape of Arthur Ashe Stadium.Seppi served well to reach 40-30 and almost registered on the scoreboard but lost game point. He had four advantage points but could not hold; then on the first for Nadal, Seppi hit a drop volley that the Spaniard ran down and flipped crosscourt for a winner. The first set was over in 39 minutes.
In the opening game of the second set, Nadal lost the first three points on his serve and faced danger of an early break. Then he delivered a deep second serve and a slice backhand and service winner to deuce before taking game on first opportunity. As in the first set, he survived a crucial game.
Seppi got his first game of the night, to a roaring applause; when Nadal netted a forehand at game point. Nadal was broken in the third game, but he retaliated to level two games apiece and held serve to lead 3-2. Seppi took his next service game at love for a tally of three games apiece.
At that point, the Tournament Referee came on court to suspend play and order closing of the roof for the first time in the tournament; a moment of history for the tournament classified as an outdoor event. Spectators took photographs of the slowly closing dome, while the players remained on court for the closing time of ive minutes and 22 seconds.
Nadal made history as the first player to hit a match ball under the closed roof and held his serve to stay ahead 4-3. Games went with serve and Nadal won his service to lead 6-5. Serving to level games and take set to a tiebreak, Seppi lost the game and Nadal had the second set 7/5; after 68 minutes.
In the third set, both players increased the speed of their deliveries; with Seppi attaining over 100mph, unlike the early part of the contest. Nadal retained his high deliveries and held the first service game to lead 1-0. Seppi lost the second game and Nadal held at love for a 3-0 lead.The increased speed helped Seppi take the fourth game, but Nadal held, and then took his opponent’s serve in the sixth game.
Serving for the set, Nadal hammered a serve of 121mph to start and an ace of to reach 40-15 match point. A delivery that pushed Seppi wide to the right was returned out and the match was over.
On a day of upsets, America’s Ryan Harrison defeated Milos Raonic, the fifth seed, 6/7; 7/5; 7/5; 6/1. The greater shock of the day was Garbine Muguruza’s loss to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in straight sets of 7/5; 6/4. The 2016 French Open champion has never gone past the second round in New York despite good outings in the other three majors. For the Latvian, it is the first time she has gone past the second round in any Grand Slam event.