The winner of 22 Grand Slam tournaments, including two this year, has not played since July 6 after a abdominal tear forced him to withdraw from his semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. He was hoping to start putting the finishing touches on getting ready for the upcoming US Open.
“With a week and a half left in New York, it’s sad not to play here,” Nadal said. “I need to get into a Grand Slam situation.”
The 36-year-old second and third seed Nadal showed no signs of injury, which mostly hit his serve. He hit 121 mph in one stroke and needed several awkward body movements to return some of Couric’s shots.
“I need to train,” Nadal said. “I want to come back better. I need days. It’s better to come back when you’re out and win your first game. I wasn’t ready enough to win the match today. The important thing is to stay healthy. It’s an injury.” Difficult. I need to take it step by step.”
The match lasted 2 hours 51 minutes, not including a rain delay of 1 hour 25 minutes in the first set.
also, Taylor Fritz beat Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2, 19-year-old Ben Chilton upset ranked fifth Casper Road. Shelton is the youngest American to defeat a top five opponent since then Andy Roddick beat number 1 Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.
Sebastian Korda came back to defeat Francis Tiafoe 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the third round in Cincinnati for the first time. He is among four American men to have qualified for this stage of the championship, the most since 2003 when there were five; Join Fritz, Chilton and John Isnerhis next opponent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.