On Wednesday night at STADE IGA, Rafael Nadal of Spain came one step closer to regaining the world no.1 ranking that has eluded him for the past three years when he easily disposed of 20-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia in two sets (6-1, 6-2).
The Spaniard is now two wins away from sitting at the very top of the ATP hierarchy. Tonight’s match was sweet revenge for Nadal, who fell to Coric at the Cincinnati Masters 1000 last season. Of course, Nadal, who has been healthy of late, is not the same player he was in 2016. And neither is Coric, who can’t seem to find his magic touch. After climbing to no.33 in 2015 at the age of 18, he was pegged as the future of the game. But he has since fallen to no.55. In his match against Nadal, the reasons why were clear.
Hitting a string of errors and lacking creativity and consistency, Coric was easy prey. Indeed, Nadal gave up only one break point that his opponent was not able to convert.
The first seed now faces the avid Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the third round on Thursday.
For Alexander Zverev (4), the skies almost came crashing down. He was forced to fight back from three match points in the third set to rid himself of veteran Richard Gasquet of France (6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (3)). The 20-year-old wasted two match points at 5-4 before getting himself into trouble.
In the third round, he faces the difficult task of going head-to-head against Nick Kyrgios (16) of Australia, who had an easy win over Paolo Lorenzi of Italy (6-2, 6-3).
South African Kevin Anderson, a finalist in Washington last week, is still on a roll: he surprised Pablo Carreno Busta (11) in two sets (6-3, 7-6 (6)).
Alexander’s brother Mischa Zverev fell in three sets (6-3, 3-6, 6-3) in his battle against Grigor Dimitrov (7).
Finally, in another surprise upset, Spanish veteran David Ferrer overpowered Jack Sock (15) of the US (7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-1) in 2:20.