No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal was happy that he managed to avoid a shock loss in Washington opener. Nadal, ranekd at No. 3 in the world, edged out former world No. 8 Jack Sock 6-2 4-6 7-6 (1) to progress into the Washington round-of-16.
“It was a tough match and I managed to find a way at the end. Sorry for Jack,” Nadal said in his on-court interview. “The energy here in Washington has been unforgettable after such a tough year and a half.
“Getting to play in front of these great people is just fantastic. I enjoyed it, I suffered a little bit but it's normal. I hope to be ready for tomorrow”. Nadal was down by a break in the third set but he recovered to force a tie-break, which he dominated to seal a three-set win.
“Well it felt fantastic. For these kind of things we still play,” Nadal said. “Of course for us playing without a crowd is the least important thing that we are facing in the last year and a half [with] a lot of people dying, a lot of people suffering.
“Still this fire is still there… At least we're able to play with some crowd so that makes a difference for us and that gives us some positive vibes to keep going”.
Jannik Sinner joins Nadal on the winners' circle
Italy's Sinner also clinched a win on Wednesday as he beat Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2 6-4.
“It was not easy. We’ve had some great battles already, this time was the third [time I faced him],” Sinner said in an on-court interview. “He’s a very, very good player and a young guy. I’m happy about my performance today.
“I was trying to play my game. I think we both have similar styles, we both play quite flat. I was trying to change direction [of the ball] earlier than him, and that worked well for me today”. Brandon Nakashima, who finished runner-up in Los Cabos and Atlanta, beat Daniel Evans 7-6 (1) 6-0.
"It definitely feels great right now. Having all this confidence from playing all these matches, going deep in tournaments has been good for me," Nakashima said. "I'm sure every player would want to have this feeling right now of playing well and winning all these matches.
I'm just trying to embrace it as much as possible." Nakashima earned a praise from Evans. "I think he's got obviously a very big future. He seems very calm and levelheaded, which is a good thing. He played good today.
He put me away pretty convincingly in the end," said Evans, who missed the Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19. "He's going to be a good player."