Tough 1st Round Tests Nadal

World's new No. 1 showed fatigue in 3-hour match
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2008 6:59 AM CDT
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates a point during his match with Bjorn Phau of Germany at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 25, 2008.    (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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(Newser) – Rafael Nadal moved on to the second round of the US Open last night, but the world's new No. 1 seed had a tougher fight than expected against a qualifier. The Spaniard took three hours and two tiebreakers to defeat Bjorn Phau, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4). After winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, Nadal admitted, "Probably I’m a little bit tired more than usually."

As the New York Times writes, Nadal has never flourished on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows; he went out in the fourth round last year. But in recent years the king of clay has deepened his game, and in 2008 he has won more hard court titles than any other player. Asked about the seemingly inevitable final in two weeks' time, Nadal said, "I never talk about playing against Federer."