Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rafa Nadal wins opener at US Open

Rafa Nadal wins opener at US Open

Rafa Nadal beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 6-2 6-2 in the opening round at the U.S. Open.

"Today I won. That's the most important thing for me," Nadal told reporters. "I believe that I am ready."

After a sluggish run-up to the U.S. Open that included a shock round of 16 loss to Denis Shapovalov in Montreal and another to Nick Kyrgios in the Cincinnati quarter-finals, Nadal needed a few games to find his range against the 85th-ranked Serb.

The 21-year-old, chasing a first U.S. Open win, showed no sign of nerves, using his stylish groundstrokes to grab the early break on the way to 4-2 lead, the four games as many as he won in his only other meeting with Nadal, a round of 16 loss at the 2014 French Open.

But a steely Nadal found his comfort zone, breaking back at 5-5 to force the opener to a tiebreak that he took 8-6.

A ruthless Nadal delivered the young Serb another tennis lesson, breaking his opponent at the first opportunity in the second and third sets to improve his record in first round U.S. Open matches to 13-0.

"Tough beginning of the match," said Nadal, who will next meet American Tommy Paul or Japan's Taro Daniel.

"The important thing is to win because is normal that you have some nerves at the beginning and you get a little bit tight at the beginning of the tournament.

"So important thing is be through and that's what I did today."