ATP roundup: Rafael Nadal loses in comeback tourney in Brisbane

League: Tennis

Posted on: 05 Jan, 2024 at 04:31 PM

Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Thompson fought off three match points in the second set, then won the third to take a 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-3 victory and end Rafael Nadal's comeback at the Brisbane International in Australia on Friday.

With one set in the bag, Nadal was up 5-4 and had a break point and match point that would have sent him to the semifinals. Playing before a rowdy home-nation crowd, Thompson came back to win that game and subsequently overcame two match points in the tiebreaker to send the contest to a third set.

The match lasted three hours, 25 minutes, with both players forced to cope with humid on-court conditions.

Brisbane was Nadal's first tour competition in nearly a year. He suffered a hip injury in the 2023 Australian Open that forced him to miss the season.

In the semifinals, Thompson will meet No. 2 seed Grigor Dmitrov of Bulgaria, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Rinky Hijikata of Australia.

No. 1 seed Holger Rune of Denmark captured a 6-2, 7-6 (6) win over another Australian, James Duckworth. In Saturday's other semifinal, he will take on Roman Safiullin of Russia, who defeated Italian Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Hong Kong Tennis Open

Unheralded Juncheng Shang of China stunned third-seeded Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-4 in a match that came down to break points to reach the semifinals in Hong Kong.

Shang converted two of eight break opportunities and fought off the only break point he faced, and that was all he needed to win in 90 minutes. Tiafoe smashed 12 aces and won 82 percent of points on his first serve in the loss.

Next up for Shang is top seed Andrey Rublev of Russia, who eliminated No. 8 seed Arthur Fils of France 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

The other semifinal will pit Austrian Sebastian Ofner against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori. Ofner fired 21 aces in his 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. Ruusuvuori ousted Russian Pavel Kotov 6-3, 7-6 (4).

--Field Level Media