Rafael Nadal looks to move into week two by winning his third round clash at the US Open on Saturday. He will face Hyeon Chung, who is back performing well after a period of time out with injury.
The injury bug struck Thanasi Kokkinakis once more, with his shoulder injury forcing him to withdraw from the round two clash with Nadal. It means that Nadal will be well refreshed coming into his round three, having played just one match in the first five days of the tournament. He will likely be disappointed to not have the opportunity to build on his round one win over John Millman, a performance he was fairly pleased with for an opening round of the tournament.
Chung has been working his way back from injury over the past few months, playing Challenger Tour matches to regain his fitness and adding a Chengdu title in the process. He did have to qualify for the US Open, but did so convincingly with no more than 3 games dropped in any set he played over the three matches. More impressive has been his opening two matches, where he outlasted Ernesto Escobedo and Fernando Verdasco in back-to-back five setters. He topped his 1-2 comeback in the opening round with one from 0-2 down against Verdasco, also breaking to stay in the match before defeating the Spaniard in a final set tiebreak.
There’s a possibility that the Korean will begin to run out of gas after such a tough fortnight in New York so far. Unfortunately for him, that could cause things to go very badly against a fresh Nadal who will pounce on any weaknesses from his opponent. Chung will be fairly pleased with his first outing at a slam since the Australian Open and could well be a contender to make the second week of them on a regular basis with a bit of luck in the future.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets