Date: 5 August 2021
Tournament: Citi Open 2021
Round: Third Round (Round of 16)
Venue: Washington DC, United States
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,895,290
Match timing: Not before 7 pm local time, 11 pm GMT, 4.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - YouTube: TennisTV
Rafael Nadal vs Lloyd Harris preview
On Wednesday Rafael Nadal fought past an inspired Jack Sock and severe foot pain to book his place in the third round of the 2021 Citi Open. He will now face South Africa's Lloyd Harris on Thursday.
Nadal beat Sock 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1) in an epic 184-minute-long contest which at one point threatened to go the opposite way. Sock led the Spaniard 3-1 in the deciding set, but Nadal came roaring back to ensure he remained alive in the competition.
The 34-year-old began the match strongly, taking the opening set 6-2. But as the match progressed his foot problem worsened, visibly affecting his movement.
Rafael Nadal has faced numerous knee and foot injuries throughout his career, and some of those problems seem to have resurfaced this year. A foot issue caused him problems even during his Roland Garros defeat to Novak Djokovic.
Given how bad the injury looked against Sock, it might not be a stretch to consider Nadal doubtful for the rest of the Citi Open. It remains to be seen if the top seed can recover in time ahead of his match against Lloyd Harris.
But injury aside, Rafael Nadal would have been quite pleased with most elements of his game on Wednesday. Nadal won just 70% of his first-serve points but the shot was clutch when it mattered; the Spaniard saved eight of the 10 break points he faced against Sock.
Nadal's forehand was also on song against the American, as he notched up 27 winners off that wing. The 34-year-old struck 41 winners overall and yielded a mere 17 unforced errors against the home favorite.
Lloyd Harris, meanwhile, spent only 51 minutes on court in his second-round match against Tennys Sandgren on Wednesday. Harris was leading 6-4, 1-0 when the American retired due to injury.
The South African was particularly effective with his serve, conceding only eight points in five service games while also racking up 10 aces.
Rafael Nadal vs Lloyd Harris head-to-head
Rafael Nadal and Lloyd Harris have never locked horns on tour before, which is why their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Rafael Nadal vs Lloyd Harris prediction
Even though Rafael Nadal seemed to be in pain against Jack Sock, his baseline power and ability to absorb the American's heavy shots saw him through in the end.
Tennis-wise Nadal was at a high level, especially with his groundstrokes. But with a short turnaround time before the third round, Lloyd Harris could well give the Spaniard some trouble.
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Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in three sets.