Borna Coric ruins Rafael Nadal’s return after 6-week hiatus with 3-set win at Western & Southern Open

MASON, Ohio — Borna Coric ruined Rafael Nadal’s return after a six-week hiatus, beating the Spanish star 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3 in Wednesday night’s Western & Southern Open.

The winner of a men’s record of 22 Grand Slam championships, including two this year, hadn’t played since July 6 after a stomach tear forced him to withdraw from a semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. He hoped to put the finishing touches on preparations for the upcoming US Open.

“With a week and a half to New York, it’s a shame not to play here,” said Nadal. “I need to get into Grand Slam mode.”

Second-placed and third-seeded Nadal, 36, showed no signs of the injury that mostly plagued his serve. Reaching 121 mph on one serve, it took several clumsy body movements to answer some of Coric’s shots.

“I have to practice,” Nadal said. “I better come back. I need days. It’s better to come back after you’ve been out for a while and won your first game. I wasn’t ready enough today to win the game. The most important thing is to be healthy It’s a tough injury to deal with. I have to take it one step at a time.”

The match lasted 2 hours, 51 minutes, excluding a 1 hour, 25 minutes rain delay into the first set.

In an all-English men’s second round match, 11th-ranked Cameron Norrie defeated three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Taylor Fritz also defeated Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 and 19-year-old wildcard Ben Shelton upset Casper Ruud in fifth. Shelton is the youngest American to beat a top-five opponent since Andy Roddick defeated #1 Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

Sebastian Korda came back and defeated Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the third round in Cincinnati for the first time. He is one of four American men to advance to this stage of the tournament, the most since 2003 when there were five; he joins Fritz, Shelton and John Isner, his next opponent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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