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Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 07:50 UK

Nadal tested in opening victory

Rafael Nadal
Nadal has yet to make it past the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows

World number one Rafael Nadal was made to work hard for his first-round win over Bjorn Phau at the US Open.

The Spaniard eventually vanquished his German opponent 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

There were easy wins for fourth seed David Ferrer, who beat Martin Vassalo Arguello, and seventh seed David Nalbandian, who overcame Marcos Daniel.

But ninth seed James Blake needed five sets to overcome fellow American Donald Young 6-1 3-6 6-1 4-6 6-4.

Blake looked poised to make quick work of Young, leading two sets to one and up 2-0 in the fourth before the left-hander hit back to take the match to a deciding set.

"Donald really picked up his game and really played great towards the end of the match," said Blake, who committed 50 unforced errors in the match.

Gael Monfils was an early winner on the first day's play in New York, the Frenchman crushing Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-4 6-4 6-1, while 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka beat Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-3.

I am a little bit tired, yes, but it is the US Open so I have to try my best here

World number one Rafael Nadal

Jurgen Melzer

upset 27th seed Feliciano Lopez 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-4, with Britain's Andy Murray a possible third-round opponent for the Austrian.

Nadal, 22, needed almost three hours to see off a determined challenge from qualifier Phau in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Spaniard even double-faulted when serving for the match to hand Phau a break back, and he required a second tie-break to finally wrap things up.

Nadal goes on to face American Ryler De Heart, ranked 251, who had a surprise 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Belgian Olivier Rochus.

"To win in three sets is always a good result," said Nadal.


"I had some difficult moments, so that's going to help me a little bit to be prepared for the pressure moments.

"I played well today when I had the pressure moments."

He added: "I am a little bit tired, yes, but it is the US Open so I have to try my best here.

"The problem is playing Toronto, Cincinnati and Beijing, then coming back here. In two weeks, two times, 12 hours' jet lag.

"I'm a little bit more tired than I usually am but, at the same time, I must be very happy how I did this year."

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see also
US Open day one photos
25 Aug 08 |  Tennis
US Open day one quotes
26 Aug 08 |  Tennis
Murray strolls through at US Open
26 Aug 08 |  Tennis
Dementieva opens with scrappy win
26 Aug 08 |  Tennis
Keothavong wins on US Open debut
25 Aug 08 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
19 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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