Rafa Nadal

Nadal and Barty win titles before year's first grand slam

Barty, who won the event in 2020, dominated against the 22-year-old seventh seed from Kazakhstan to win in just over an hour, as she hits form a little more than a week ahead of the start of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

"The work that I do with my team behind the scenes puts me in the best possible position to play good tennis time, and time again each and every time we're asked," Barty told reporters. "I certainly feel pretty good coming into the summer.

Nadal still unsure when he'll return

The 20-times major winner, who struggled with back issues at the start of this year before pulling out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, last played in August at the Citi Open in Washington.

He announced ahead of the U.S. Open that the injury to his left foot would rule him out for the rest of the year.

"I want to recover from this injury in good condition," the 35-year-old Spaniard, currently ranked sixth, said.

"I don't know when I will play again, I work a lot every day, I follow a specific plan with a marked roadmap...

Nadal has Tokyo doubts

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May as the country battles a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising new questions about whether the rescheduled July 23-Aug. 8 Games should go ahead.

Nadal, who won a singles gold in Beijing 2008 and added a doubles title in Rio de Janeiro eight years later partnering Marc Lopez, said that he is yet to firm up his plans on travelling to Tokyo.

Japan's top-ranked men's and women's players - Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka - have raised concerns about staging the Games amid the pandemic.

Dominic Thiem downs world number 2 Rafa Nadal

World number three Thiem saved a couple of set points in the first tiebreak before whipping away a forehand to take an opening set in which there was barely anything between the two.

Spaniard Nadal, bidding to win the only big title to elude him, engineered the first break of the match at 3-3 in the second set only for Thiem to reply in stunning fashion.

Nadal was on the brink of defeat when he slipped 0-40 behind serving at 4-5 after a wayward smash, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion dug himself out of a hole, saving three match points.

Rafa won't play in New York

Spain's Nadal had said in June that he had reservations about travelling to the US amid the Covid-19 pandemic and he joins women's world number one Australian Ash Barty in skipping the tournament due to Covid-19 concerns.

"After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year's US Open," Nadal said on Twitter.

"The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don't have control of it.