Rafael Nadal out of Indian Wells, Miami with injured hip Berrettini solid in Acapulco; Alcaraz, Norrie pull out Top-seeded Linette loses to Gracheva in Austin’s 1st round
INDIAN WELLS, California. On Tuesday, Rafael Nadal pulled out of the upcoming Indian Wells and Miami hardcourt tournaments with a left hip flexor injury that forced him out of action after the Australian Open.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion tweeted about his retirement, which was expected but still raises questions about when he could return to action.
“Took a vacation, started rehab, gym and physical therapy as instructed by the doctors,” Nadal tweeted, which included videos of him at the gym. “Getting ready to return… in better conditions.”
He is a three-time winner and has reached the final of the 2022 BNP Paribas Open in California, where the men will start playing in the main draw on March 8th. This will be followed by the Miami Open, another Masters 1000 tournament where the ATP action will kick off. March 22, and Nadal last competed in 2017. He never won a title there and was runner-up five times, including two final losses to rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
After Miami, the men’s tennis circuit switches to European red clay, leading to the French Open at the end of May.
Nadal has won 14 of his major titles at Roland Garros, including last year while battling chronic pain in his left leg. He then reached the Wimbledon semi-finals but did not play in that round at the All England Club due to a stomach injury.
And then, in January at Melbourne Park, the 36-year-old Spanish athlete injured his hip flexors during a second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald of the United States.
The next day, an MRI showed the extent of the injury. Nadal and his manager then said that the usual recovery time is six to eight weeks.
Nadal has lost seven of his last nine matches since a fourth-round loss at the US Open in September, and this week the former No. 1 has dropped to No. 8 in the ATP standings. The longer he is out, the more he will fall – also because he will not defend the points earned in Indian Wells a year ago, reaching the final.
The Indian Wells and Miami draws may also be missing a current number 1 – and the player who shares the record of men’s Grand Slam titles with Nadal: Novak Djokovic, who is currently not allowed to travel to the US as a foreign citizen who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last week, Djokovic said he had requested special permission from the US authorities to enter the country in order to play in Indian Wells and Miami. The Transportation Security Administration said the requirement for full vaccination against the disease for foreign air passengers will remain in effect until at least mid-April.
Acapulco, Mexico. Matteo Berrettini won the seven games he played on Tuesday before Alex Molkan retired with a wrist injury in the second round of the Mexican Open.
The 26-year-old Italian, after playing his first match since losing to Andy Murray in the first round of the Australian Open on January 17, won the first set 6-0 and led 1-0 in the second when Molchan decided he couldn’t continue.
Also on Tuesday, No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 5 Cameron Norrie were eliminated from the tournament.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to play in Acapulco. Based on the tests we did this morning, I have a Grade 1 right hamstring strain that will prevent me from competing for a few days,” Alcaraz said in a statement. “I’m very sad that I can’t compete here, but now it’s time to think about recovering and being ready as soon as possible.”
Alcaraz, the US Open champion, captured his seventh ATP title earlier this month in Buenos Aires, Argentina and reached the final in Rio de Janeiro last week, where he lost to Norrie.
Norrie, who leads the ATP Tour in match wins this season with 18 wins, cited fatigue as the reason for his withdrawal.
Austin, Texas. First-placed Magda Lynette was eliminated from the ATX Open in the first round, losing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to 88th-placed Varvara Gracheva on Tuesday.
Lynette, ranked 21st in her career this week, has lost three of her last five matches. This follows a five-match winning streak that took her to her first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open in January before she lost at Melbourne Park to eventual champion Arina Sobolenko.
Gracheva, who saved 10 out of 14 break points against Lynette, will face Anna Blinkova.
Seeded women who advanced to the second round with wins on Tuesday included No. 4 Danielle Collins, No. 5 Sloane Stevens and No. 8 Marta Kostiuk. Magdalena Frech 6–7 (7), 6–2, 6–4; Stevens, the 2017 US Open champion, saved the only two break points she faced to beat Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-3; and Kostyuk defeated Dalma Galfi 7-5, 6-1.
Lynette’s departure means three of the top six seeds left Tuesday’s hard-surface tournament, which marks the debut of women’s professional tennis in Austin. This is because No. 2 Zhang Shuai withdrew due to illness and No. 6 Lauren Davis withdrew due to a stomach injury; both were replaced by women who lost in the final qualifying round.
Erika Andreeva took Zhang’s place in the main draw and beat Harriet Dart 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (3), while Nao Hibino took Davis’ place and lost to Anna Kalinska 6-4, 3-6. , 6-2.
Emma Radukanou, 2021 US Open champion, retired from the field before the start of the game due to tonsillitis.