Wednesday, September 2, 2009
World number three Rafael Nadal was in fine form on his return to Grand Slam action as he swept past Richard Gasquet to reach the US Open second round.
The third seed, who missed Wimbledon with tendonitis in both knees, powered to a 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory.
Nadal was always in control against the erratic Gasquet and will face Germany's Nicolas Kiefer next.
Roger Federer continues his quest for a sixth straight title against Simon Greul in Wednesday's first night match.
Earlier, France'sGael Monfils, the 13th seed, cruised into the second round with a 6-1 6-4 6-3 win over compatriot Jeremy Chardy.
I'm very happy to be in the second round. Nicolas is a very good player. I have to play well if I want to have a chance to win
Monfils, who won in just 95 minutes said: "I think like my best thing was I tried to play inside the court, tried to be more aggressive, and not going too far off my baseline, so this was good."
Former champion Marat Safin bowed out of his final Grand Slam with a straight-sets defeat by Austria's Jurgen Melzer.
But all eyes were on Nadal, and the condition of his knees, when he emerged on court at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The last time the 23-year-old completed in a major, he saw his four-year French Open reign ended in the fourth round at Roland Garros and, during his enforced absence, he also lost his number one ranking.
His opponent Gasquet has also just returned to the Tour, following a two-month suspension after he tested positive for cocaine.
Rafa was simply brilliant tonight
Gasquet has played only two matches since his ban ended and he was far too rusty to trouble Nadal, who did not have to face a single break point as he eased through.
"It felt good," Nadal said afterwards. "I served well in the important moments. I played very well on my backhand, which is very important in my game.
"I'm very happy to be in the second round. Nicolas is a very good player. I have to play well if I want to have a chance to win."