Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:46
Rafael Nadal held off a spirited challenge from world number 129 Nicolas Kiefer to earn a place in the US Open third round at Flushing Meadows.
Third seed Nadal, still making his way back from an eight-week injury lay-off due to knee problems that left him unable to defend his Wimbledon title, had looked to be cruising to victory after taking the first set without the loss of a game.
He had not counted on the determination of his German opponent who made him fight for the remainder of the match before Nadal ran out a 6-0 3-6 6-3 6-4 winner at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The victory means Nadal will next play fellow Spaniard and 32nd seed Nicolas Almagro, a five-set winner over American Robbie Ginepri and also completed a second round in which all of the top 16 seeds progressed to the last 32.
“I’m very happy to be in the next round,” Nadal said. “I feel good, I started well, he started slow and later he played better.
“When you win the first set easy and like that and he starts to play better it’s difficult. Nicolas is a great player, he played a good match and I’m very happy to beat him.”
Earlier in the day, second seed Andy Murray had bounced back from a lacklustre second set to reach the third round with a four-set win over Paul Capdeville of Chile.
Britain’s world number two, playing in 80-degree heat at Arthur Ashe Stadium, beat his former training partner, ranked 87, 6-2 3-6 6-0 6-2 in two hours and seven minutes.
Sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro stayed on course for a quarter-final meeting with Murray when he advanced with a three-set win over Jurgen Melzer, although his overall performance was inconsistent.