Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the first set of the U.S. Open men's final against defending champion Rafa Nadal 6-2 in blustery Flushing Meadows on Monday.
Both players had difficulty holding serve, with Djokovic doing a better job in windy conditions that topped 15 miles per hour at Arthur Ashe Stadium, winning the last six games of the opening set after falling behind 2-0.
Nadal took the early lead by breaking Djokovic in his first service game. The Spaniard scored on a sizzling run-around forehand winner that brushed the lines in the corner and got a 2-0 lead when the Serb made two straight backhand errors.
Second-seeded Nadal failed to consolidate his advantage when Djokovic broke right back in the next game. The Spaniard fell behind 0-40 and saved two break points before sending a forehand long to bring the set back on serve.
Nadal kept the pressure on top-seeded Djokovic's serve again in the fourth game but the Serb fought off three break points to hold, then broke the Spaniard for a 3-2 lead by belting an inside-out forehand winner.
Djokovic ended deep-hitting rallies twice with drop-shot winners on his way to breaking Nadal for a third straight time for a 5-2 lead before holding at love in the next game to clinch the first set.