© Mike Lawrence/Citi Open
Top seed secures unbeaten sixth ATP Head2Head victory over the American
Rafael Nadal survived a Jack Sock onslaught on Wednesday night as he overcame a stern three-set test in the opening match of his Citi Open debut. The top seed saw off the resurgent former World No. 8 before a packed Stadium Court crowd, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1).
In a battle between two of the heaviest top-spun forehands, Nadal was forced to work overtime to dig himself back from a break down in the third set as he prevailed after three hours and five minutes. Nadal had not played since a gruelling Roland Garros semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in June and not on hard court since he fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February.
Between 2015 and 2017, Nadal and Sock had squared off five times and while the American had taken sets in three of those encounters – including the fourth round at Roland Garros 2015 – this match ultimately went the way of all their previous ATP Head2Head encounters. Victory set a showdown with South African Lloyd Harris for a place in the quarter-finals.