Rafael Nadal beats John Millman in straight sets to reach US Open second round

(Reuters) – Three-times champion Rafa Nadal denied John Millman any chance of posting another fairytale run in New York as he cruised by the Australian 6-3 6-2 6-2 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Millman delivered the upset of the tournament last year when he beat five-times winner Roger Federer in a surprising run to the quarter-finals but he was unable to recreate the same magic against the relentless Spanish second seed.

Rafa said he came on court with a “lot of respect” for Millman.

“He showed last year what he is able to do when he is playing well,” he said.

“Always at the beginning (of a tournament) the first match everything is a little bit new, even if I have played here plenty of times. The beginnings are not easy. To be the first match honestly I think I played a good match, hitting good backhands, some more mistakes maybe with the forehand than usual but generally happy with how I started.”

Rafa, who last year retired from his semi-final with a knee injury after several grueling matches, was a model of efficiency in his opening match of the year’s final Grand Slam.

The 33-year-old Spaniard, who snacked on some dates that were on a plate beside his courtside chair, seemed to get better as the match went on and made quick work of Millman in the final set where he went up an early double break for a 3-0 lead.

The only thing to rattle Rafa under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium came when he was getting ready to serve at 5-3 in the first set and the chair umpire issued a time violation that the Spaniard took issue with.

But Rafa, who denied that he was not ready to serve on time, did not let the incident knock him off course as he went on to close out the set in the ensuing game.

Rafa faced only three break points and easily turned aside each one. The first was in the opening game of the match, with Millman’s other two chances to break coming in the final game of the second set.

By contrast, Rafa converted five of his 15 break point chances against Millman, who did not have the weaponry or pace to keep up with the 18-times Grand Slam champion.

Serving for the win at 5-2, Rafa sealed the deal on his second match point with a sizzling forehand down the line that left Millman no chance.

Up next for Rafa will be Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Source: Reuters

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12 comments

  1. Rafa congratulations you play so good vamossssssssss champ I watch you play ,your serve is very good ,all the way too the finals .🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🌎👍🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🌎👍🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🌎👍❤️

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  2. May be nobody would believe me here but in Montreal and in this match Rafa is on beast mode and I will be very surprised if he does not repeat the Glory at us open

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  3. Well done Rafa! He’s looking sharp, among the big three, his level looks the best.

    Millman is such a grinder and will try to get every ball back, it’s no wonder he had beaten Fed last year because Fed just couldn’t keep up with the ball coming back at him all the time. However, against Rafa Millman had no such luck.

    I’m so glad Rafa didn’t spend too much time and energy on court; I was worried initially when he was engaged in long rallies after long rallies with Millman and was struggling a little bit in his first service game. Rafa then started moving forward as the match progressed, and hit some FH DTL shots that were clear winners, a joy to watch.

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  4. Efficient first round win, Rafael. Dominant playing over opponent. Strange call by the official.
    Black and purple-best co-ordination in tournament. Stay healthy and focussed.Your comments on seeded players defeated in round one are totally sensible-opponents have nothing to lose, and everything to gain-they are, therefore, to be respected. Fight on🤛👍💪👏🍀❤️

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