By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Rafael Nadal’s tremendous tennis return in the ongoing Brisbane International tournament was put to an end by Jordan Thompson of Australia and will wrap up his campaign with a quarterfinal finish last January 5, 2024.
After almost four hours of high-octane tennis action, Nadal seemed to lose gas in the last two sets and failed to advance in the semifinal round- 5.7, 7.6, 6.3-.
Nadal was on track for another huge momentum swing after surviving a grueling first set but would later on commit several unforced errors which was capitalized by Thompson midway through the second set.
The Spanish legend had three chances of extending his lead but Thompson salvaged three match points that could’ve put him in a difficult situation.
From an error-plagued first set, Thompson quickly changed gears and adjusted his play style to counter Nadal’s heavy top-spin game.
Thompson kicked off his revamped strategy by targeting Nadal’s backhand during their long baseline rallies.
After that, the Australian sensation pressed forward by moving to the net, applying pressure to the exhausted Nadal who started to miss his down-the-line bombs.
Nadal bounced back at the start of the third set after hitting two consecutive cross-court winners but Thompson was quick to strike back with several net points.
Midway through the third, Nadal piled up a series of surprising errors from the baseline while Thompson continued his consistent and steady offense.
Before losing to Thompson, Nadal swept the first two rounds after demolishing Dominic Thiem in the Round of 32 and Jason Kubler in the Round of 16.