Rafael Nadal opened play at the US Open Tuesday night and looked dominant in an easy 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over John Millman who just a year ago stunned Roger Federer.
“I’m very happy with the victory and very happy to be back in New York,” Nadal told the crowd. “The first match is always a little bit new. Even if I’ve played here many times, the beginnings are not easy. The serve worked well tonight and while my backhand wasn’t as good as it can be, I am very happy.”
Nadal was in full control of the Australian blasting 22 winners and holding all 13 service games.
“When you start the tournament, you have difficult opponents in front. You need to go on court and respect every single opponent,” Nadal said. “I went on court today against a tough opponent knowing that I need to play well to win. If you play bad, you can lose.”
While Nadal rolled, several of his Top 10 brethren did not. In fact, a first round record four Top 10 men’s seeds were upset on Tuesday. No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut got things going as the Wimbledon semifinal fell to Mikhail Kukushkin in 5 sets.
Then, in the men’s match of the day, 2017 quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev edged a cramping Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-5 in a drama-filled 3 hours, 45 minutes. Tsitsipas was docked a point for a time violation and was also cited for coaching. The Greek was struggling with leg cramps late in the match, and Rublev took advantage handing Tsitsipas his fourth straight loss.
On Ashe, No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem said he was still under the virus bug in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
“I got very, very tired and exhausted after two sets. I’m far away from 100%. Like this, it’s very tough to win,” said Thiem. “I went on court because in tennis, especially in long two-week tournaments, anything can happen.”
No. 9 seed Karen Khachanov’s up-and-down summer was down today in a 5-set loss to Vasek Pospisil.
No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev managed to avoid blowing 2-set lead to eventually win in five sets over Delray Beach champion Radu Albot.
“I’m happy to win. Full stop,” said Zverev. “Obviously against a player like Radu, he’s somebody who picks up his level and it’s never going to be easy. He’s one of the toughest players we have. I’m just happy to get through.”
Gael Monfils, John Isner, Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon and Denis Shapovalov were also winners. Shapovalov beat countryman Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 for a second straight year.
Nick Kyrgios was up late on Steve Johnson in the night match.
On tap Wednesday, former champions Roger Federer and Roger Federer return along with Kei Nishikori, Reilly Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov who takes on Borna Coric
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