Defending champion Rafael Nadal cruised into the second round of the U.S. Open after facing a tough challenge from 98th ranked Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan on Tuesday night.
Nadal, won the match in straight sets, but the 24-year-old Kazakh kept the world No. 2 away from the victory for 2 hours and 49 minutes taking the second set into a tiebreaker. Nadal won the match 6-3, 7-6 (1), 7-5.
Golubev, had seven set points in the second set, the first five on his serve but Nadal's strong forehand did not let him bring the match on 1-1. In the third set too Golubev got a double break but could not hold on to the lead and fell for some spectacular dropshots from Nadal, long rallies and, of course, blazing forehand.
I never played in the stadium in one of four Grand Slams, especially against big guy. So it was really great experience, Golubev said after the match.
If you don't think about the points, it was not bad performance, Golubev said in a self-critique. I mean, you have to win the points when you have to win, for example, like second set or third set when you serve for the set. Without that moment, it's O.K. he added.
Talking about his performance in the opening match, Nadal said: It's normal to start like this. It's normal to start with doubts, more nervous. The confidence didn't come like this.
The emotions are always a little different when you remember what happened the previous year. You come back to the court knowing what you did. But the ball is the same. You try to play well and try to win. That's why I'm here, and I'll try my best every moment, Nadal added.