Rafael Nadal was stunned 6-4,1-6, 6-4 by South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in the seoncd round of Citi Open in Washington.
Nadal overcame a lingering foot injury on Wednesday evening to beat home favourite Jack Sock in a final-set tie-break in front of an energised crowd.
But the South African would not allow the top seed to work his magic again.
What a moment for 🇿🇦 @lloydharris63!
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 6, 2021
“The most positive thing is my foot was better today than yesterday, so that’s the best news possible,” Nadal said.
“I played against a player that played well. For the moment, I think I played better than yesterday, but in the third when I had opportunities, the truth is his serve was huge and I played this last game really badly.”
The 20-time major champion had handled the pressure well in the decider and was on serve till 4-5.
Up until that point, he was the only one to earn a break point in the third set. But Harris seized the moment and upset the World No. 3, finishing the job with a perfect lob.
“You can’t have mistakes in the key moments, and in the key moments I think in the last game, I was a little bit more nervous. My serve was not working the proper way,” Nadal said.
“That’s it. Yes, well done for him. It’s a great victory for him. I wish him all the very best.”
This was Nadal’s first tournament since Roland Garros.
The Spaniard admitted before the Citi Open that he went 20 days without playing tennis due to his left foot injury, which kept him out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. So it was a major positive that Nadal made progress on that front on Thursday.