Nadal’s Brisbane Comeback Ends in Heartbreak with Missed Match Points and Medical Timeout

Rafa Nadal

Nadal’s Brisbane Comeback Ends in Heartbreak with Missed Match Points and Medical Timeout

In a disappointing turn of events at the Brisbane International  Rafael Nadal, on his tour comeback after a prolonged injury layoff, faced a tough quarterfinal loss to Jordan Thompson. The 37-year-old Spaniard missed three crucial match points, including one in the 10th game of the second set and two in the tiebreaker, ultimately succumbing to Thompson 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-3.

Nadal, a 22-time major winner, had opened the tournament with two impressive straight-set victories but struggled in his third match within four nights. His energy visibly declined at the beginning of the third set, leading to a 4-1 deficit after Thompson broke in the fourth game. At this point, Nadal required a medical timeout, with the trainer assessing him for an apparent upper left leg issue.

Despite returning to the court after the medical break, Nadal couldn’t regain his momentum, and Thompson secured the win, advancing to the semifinals against second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.

As Nadal’s rehabilitation from a hip injury and surgery that kept him sidelined for most of 2023 faces a significant test, fans and analysts are left questioning his readiness for the upcoming Australian Open, scheduled to commence on January 14.

Meanwhile, in the women’s category, Aryna Sabalenka continued her dominance in Brisbane, setting up a semifinal clash with compatriot Victoria Azarenka. Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, extended her Down Under winning streak to 14 with a convincing 6-1, 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina.

Azarenka, a two-time champion in both Brisbane and the Australian Open, faced a tougher battle, needing 2 1/2 hours to overcome Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. The upcoming Sabalenka-Azarenka matchup promises to be a thrilling contest between two Belarusian champions who have previously faced each other only four times at the elite level.

In other results, second-seeded Elena Rybakina advanced to the semifinals after her opponent Anastasia Potapova retired due to an abdominal injury, setting up a clash with Linda Noskova, who defeated Mirra Andreeva 7-5, 6-3.

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