New York, USA, 30 August 2022 | Matt Trollope and Leigh Rogers

Aussie young gun Rinky Hijikata will make his Grand Slam main-draw debut at the US Open with the eyes of the world watching.

The 21-year-old has drawn Spanish legend Rafael Nadal, the 22-time major champion and second seed who, with a good result in New York, could reclaim the world No.1 ranking.

The closest Hijikata had previously come to the main draw of a Slam was at Wimbledon this year, where he reached the final round of qualifying.

After receiving a wildcard to compete at Flushing Meadows, the world No.198’s draw ensured his debut will be as memorable as they come.

“Obviously it’s a pretty exciting draw, it’s not often you get to play one of the greats of the game and someone of that calibre. So I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” Hijikata told

“I kind of see it as a positive thing. I like to put myself in challenging matches and situations like that.”

Hijikata’s match against Nadal has been scheduled in prime time on Tuesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium (9am Wednesday AEST).

He will take on Nadal having won seven of his past nine matches leading in, and recently cracking the top 200, after beginning the season at No.375.

He has played 60 matches, and won 40, in an impressive first full season on tour after deferring his studies at the University of North Carolina.

One of his most notable performances came recently in Los Cabos, where he qualified for the main draw then won his first tour-level main-draw match, before losing to world No.1 Daniil Medvedev.

“I think that match was pretty special,” Hijikata said of the 6-4 6-3 defeat, “because it was the first time I’d gotten to play a player of that calibre and in an atmosphere like that.

“It was a lot of fun playing; obviously I would have loved it if the result was a little bit different. But those are the matches you dream of playing.

“I hope my experience there will hold me in good stead here (against Nadal) and hopefully I can settle the nerves a little bit quicker and hopefully build my way into the match.”

Hijikata is one of six Australians in action on day two at Flushing Meadows.

The US Open is broadcast on the Nine Network and Stan Sport in Australia, with coverage beginning from 1am AEST.

Aussies in action:

[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Men’s singles, first round, Arthur Ashe Stadium, night session, first match
Hijikata, a 21-year-old Australian wildcard who broke into the world’s top 200 this month, has been handed a daunting task in his US Open debut. The world No.198 meets the most prolific Grand Slam champion in men’s tennis history. Nadal, the world No.3 and a 22-time major winner, has also never lost in the opening round in his 15 previous US Open appearances. The Spanish champion is just the second top 50-ranked opponent that Hijikata has faced in his young career.
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> VIEW: US Open 2022 day two order of play

James Duckworth (AUS) v Chris O’Connell (AUS)
Men’s singles, first round, Court 9, second match
This is a first-round battle between two of the hardest-working and most resilient players in Australian tennis. World No.83 Duckworth, a 30-year-old making his seventh US Open main draw appearance, and world No.118 O’Connell, a 28-year-old competing in New York for a second time, have both overcome countless injury setbacks throughout their career and continue to prove that perseverance pays off. Their only previous professional meeting was at an ATP Challenger event in Australia more than seven years ago.
Head-to-head record: Duckworth leads 1-0
Last meeting: Duckworth won 6-2 6-4 (Burnie, February 2015)

> READ: Determined Duckworth ready for all-Australian battle

[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) v [Q] Yuan Yue (CHN)
Women’s singles, first round, Court 9, third match
Fourlis is excited to make her US Open main draw debut. The 22-year-old is enjoying a career-best season, rising to world No.147 in July. The wildcard recipient, who underwent a shoulder reconstruction in 2020, is looking to score her first Grand Slam win since Australian Open 2017. She faces a 23-year-old Chinese qualifier, who is also making her US Open debut. World No.142 Yuan defeated another Australian, Maddison Inglis, in the final qualifying round.
Head-to-head record: First career meeting

> READ: Fourlis excited to make US Open main draw debut

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v Tseng Chun-hsin (TPE)
Men’s singles, first round, Court 9, fourth match
Popyrin is a proven US Open performer, advancing to the third round in his two previous main draw appearances at the Grand Slam tournament. The 23-year-old Australian returns to New York ranked No.84 and determined to regain form after a difficult season. His first-round opponent is Tseng, a former world No.1 junior making his US Open debut. The 21-year-old from Chinese Taipei is enjoying a breakout season and is currently ranked No.89.
Head-to-head record: First career meeting

> READ: Popyrin returns to US Open with point to prove

Jason Kubler (AUS) v Mikael Ymer (SWE)
Men’s singles, first round, Court 15, fourth match
Kubler is making his second US Open main draw appearance – and first since 2018. The resurgent 29-year-old is in stellar form, winning 26 of his past 33 matches. This includes his career-best fourth-round run at Wimbledon and eight victories against top 100-ranked opponents. This is sure to provide extra confidence for the world No.109 in his first-round clash against world No.99 Ymer, a 23-year-old Swede seeking his first main draw win in New York.
Head-to-head record: First career meeting

> READ: Kubler embracing journey in US Open return

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