US open Tennis: Rafael Nadal moves into the 2nd round
World number one Rafael Nadal beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 6-2 to reach the second round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
In a match played under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof because of heavy rain in New York, Serb Lajovic served for the first set but Nadal broke back to love.
After taking the first set on a tie-break, the Spaniard dominated against the world number 85.
Nadal will face Japan’s Taro Daniel or American Tommy Paul next.
“It was tough at the beginning, he was playing well and not making many mistakes and I felt he was controlling the points too many times,” the 15-time Grand Slam champion said.
“At the end of that first set it was important to get the break point back and I played a good point at 6-6, and then hit a good winner to win the set. Then everything was changing.
“I need to keep improving, but the first round is never easy, there are nerves out here when you play in his amazing place. Always at the beginning you want to do it well.”
Earlier this year, Lajovic broke eventual champion Roger Federer at the first opportunity in their second-round meeting at Wimbledon on his way to losing an opening-set tie-break and the match.
Once again, the 27-year-old’s best work came early as he matched Nadal for much of the first set with an unexpectedly high standard of tennis.
But his first-serve percentage (83%) and the rate of winners (nine) both dropped substantially over the next two as Nadal’s class showed.
No other men’s matches were completed on day two because of the rain that arrived after less than two hours’ play and forced the cancellation of the schedule on the outside courts.