Three-times champion Rafael Nadal denied John Millman any chance of posting another fairytale run in New York as he cruised by the Australian 6-3 6-2 6-2 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
Millman delivered the upset of the tournament last year when he beat five-times winner Roger Federer in a surprising run to the quarter-finals but he was unable to recreate the same magic against the relentless Spanish second seed. Nadal said he came on court with a “lot of respect” for Millman. “He showed last year what he is able to do when he is playing well,” he said.
“Always at the beginning (of a tournament) the first match everything is a little bit new, even if I have played here plenty of times. The beginnings are not easy. “To be the first match honestly I think I played a good match, hitting good backhands, some more mistakes maybe with the forehand than usual but generally happy with how I started.”
Nadal, who last year retired from his semi-final with a knee injury after several grueling matches, was a model of efficiency in his opening match of the year’s final Grand Slam.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, who snacked on some dates that were on a plate beside his courtside chair, seemed to get better as the match went on and made quick work of Millman in the final set where he went up an early double break for a 3-0 lead.
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