Rafael Nadal slipped when no one expected it! The Spanish ace, the third tennis player in the world, was eliminated in the eighth-finals of the tournament in Washington. Nadal applied for Washington to warm up after a long break since he did not play from Roland Garros, all in order to prepare for the US Open, where he is planning a big showdown with Novak Djokovic for the 21st Grand Slam trophy in his career.
But at least this initial step in those preparations did not go well. Nadal was eliminated by the not-so-famous South African Lloyd George Muirhead Harris, the 50th tennis player in the world, after two hours and 11 minutes of play - 6: 4, 1: 6, 6: 4.
Rafa wasn't at his level after a two-month break, it was seen in the previous match against Jack Sock, where he also played in three sets, but he managed to get out and win. He did not succeed that evening, although he won the second set with 6: 1, and the impression was that he completely took the momentum of the match into his own hands.
However, until this evening, the 24-year-old from Cape Town who did not have some big success in his career did not let the lost set break him. In the third, he saved three breakpoints, and he used the first chance that appeared to him when he was leading 5: 4.
It was a break and a match ball, which Harris turned into the biggest victory in his career. The South African does not have any ATP titles, and he has played in two finals so far, and both times he was defeated by the Russians, one by Andrei Rublev, the second time by Aslan Karatsev.
Kei Nishikori is now waiting for him in the quarterfinals in Washington. Nadal is now waiting for Toronto, then Cincinnati before the US Open, but it is also clear to him that he will have to raise the level of the game significantly in order to be able to threaten Novak Djokovic on the New York concrete.
Obviously, he entered this match relaxed and believed that it would be easy to win, but still, Harris showed that he is not an easy opponent, and he offered strong resistance and finally won. Nadal with a game like this will hardly be able to do anything, but we believe that this is just one bad day for him and that he will once again show that he is one of the best tennis players in the world.