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Rafael Nadal suffers stunning defeat in US Open warm-up: ‘You lose, you move forward’

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Rafael Nadal’s tune-up ahead of the U.S. Open did not go as planned.

Borna Coric, ranked 152nd in the ATP rankings, ousted Nadal 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3 at the Western & Southern Open, handing the record-holder of 22 Grand Slam titles a shocking defeat. Nadal had not played a match since an abdominal tear forced him out of the Wimbledon semifinals back in July.

Coric was coming off a loss against Marin Cillic in the first round of the ATP Masters 1000 Canada and a quarterfinal loss against Alex Molcan in the Hamburg European Open.

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Borna Coric reacts to a point against Rafael Nadal during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati August 17, 2022.
(Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

Nadal did not show signs of any lingering effects of the injury. He reached 121 mph on a serve. He admitted he needed to return serves better before the final Grand Slam tournament of the year rolls around.

“Obviously I didn't play my best match,” he told reporters in his post-match press conference, via ATPTour.com. “[It is] something that can happen. Historically this tournament has been difficult for me. So coming back from a tough period of time, [it is] something that's easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna, that he played better.”

Rafael Nadal reacts to a point against Borna Coric during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati August 17, 2022.

Rafael Nadal reacts to a point against Borna Coric during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati August 17, 2022.
(Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

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He said he needed to practice more and move on from the loss.

“You lose, you move forward. I know the way. The main thing for me is to stay healthy. It has been a difficult injury to manage, to be honest. The last month and a half hasn't been easy, because having a tear on the abdominal, you don't know when [you are] 100% over the thing, so that affects a little bit in terms of not [being] sure if you are able to try your best in every serve.”

The U.S. Open begins Aug. 29 and runs through Sept. 11.

Rafael Nadal reacts to a shot during his match against Borna Coric at the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati August 17, 2022.

Rafael Nadal reacts to a shot during his match against Borna Coric at the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati August 17, 2022.
(Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nadal won the tournament four times – the last coming in 2019.

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