TennisSection previews the 2022 Cincinnati Masters as Rafael Nadal takes on Borna Coric in the second round on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022.
After getting a bye in the first-round, Rafael Nadal’s much-anticipated return to action will have to wait for one more day before he trudges to the centre court of the Cincinnati Masters. The legendary Spaniard will cross swords against a resurgent Borna Coric. Who will prevail?
The comeback is on for Rafael Nadal. Since his disappointing withdrawal at Wimbledon due to an abdominal injury, Nadal has missed over a month of competitive tennis. Prioritizing his health rather than risk his long term future in the sport is what Nadal was after, and you cannot fault him. The Spaniard did give his legion of fans some welcome news at the end of last month when he posted on his social media pages some snaps of his training. Nadal deemed himself unfit to play at last week’s Montreal Masters, dealing the tournament a major blow. But that has only served to entice the fans in Ohio where the 22-time Grand Slam champion is set to mark his long return to the Cincinnati Masters for the first time since 2017.
Borna Coric, meanwhile, has also been through hell with injuries. Coric, as you may recall, spent a year on the sidelines nursing a surgically-repaired shoulder. And even after returning to action this season, Coric has picked up a few niggling concerns on his shoulder and it was evident in his quarterfinal retirement in Hamburg. The Croatian baseliner recovered in time to kick off his summer hard-court season in Montreal where he lost Marin Cilic for the umpteenth time. Coric managed to steer his campaign in the right direction at the Cincinnati Masters, winning his first-round match against the high-flying Lorenzo Musetti.
Rafael Nadal and Borna Coric are currently tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head. Coric famously announced himself to the tennis world with that stunning win over the Spaniard in Basel in 2014 when he was a 17-year-old. Incidentally, Coric’s second victory over the Spaniard was at the Cincinnati Masters in 2016. While Coric has not quite lived up to his teenage promise largely due to injuries and inconsistency, he remains a perennial danger especially on hard courts. His excellent counterpunching abilities make him so tough to overpower from the baseline. We may be less than two weeks away from the big battleground in New York, but I honestly think it is too early to judge Nadal’s US Open chances. And when the expectations are so low, Nadal is at his most dangerous. This could swing either way, but Nadal looks a feasible pick.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Rafael Nadal in 3 Sets.
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