United Cup: Rafael Nadal starts season with consecutive defeats
Alex de Minaur stunned 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 to garner a 1-0 lead for Team Australia in Group D at the United Cup. The 23-year-old downed the world number two to register the biggest win of his career by ranking. As for Nadal, it is the first time he has started the season with two successive defeats.
Here's the head-to-head record
De Minaur bagged his maiden win over the Spaniard to tally a 1-3 record in their head-to-head series. They first met at 2018 Wimbledon, with Nadal prevailing in three sets. Nadal followed with wins at the 2019 Australian Open and the 2020 ATP Cup.
Unwanted feat for Nadal
As stated, it is the first time Nadal has lost successive games at the start of the season. Earlier, he suffered a 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 defeat against Cameron Norrie. Besides, Nadal is 1-6 in his last seven matches, comprising a dead rubber win in round-robin play at the ATP Finals against Casper Ruud. He still searches for his maiden win in the season.
Nadal finishes with a 39-8 win-loss record in 2022
In January 2022, Nadal defied all odds to win the Australian Open. He broke a tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in terms of Grand Slam titles. Nadal then went on to claim a record-extending 14th French Open title. Although injury marred his plight at Wimbledon, he was ruthless en route to the semi-finals. Nadal finished the season with a 39-8 win-loss record.
Key details about the United Cup
The 2023 United Cup is the maiden edition of the tournament. It's an international outdoor hard-court mixed-gender team tournament held by ATP and WTA. The competition is serving as the opener for both 2023 ATP Tour and WTA Tour. It is being held from December 29, 2022, to January 8, 2023. Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney are playing host to this event.
United Cup to offer ATP, WTA Rankings points
United Cup features a total of 18 participating teams with prize money of US$15,000,000. Notably, it is the first mixed-gender team event that is offering both ATP and WTA Rankings points to the players. A player can win a maximum of 500 points.