New York - World
number one Rafael Nadal battled back after dropping the first set
Thursday to subdue Japan's 121st-ranked Taro Daniel and reach the third
round of the US Open.
The 31-year-old Spaniard won his ATP-best
51st match of the year by 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 over the 24-year-old New
York native, who fell to 0-4 against top-10 rivals.
"It's a very
important victory," Nadal said. "It's true I didn't play very well
tonight but it's true I'm through to the third round."
15-time Grand Slam champion who captured his 10th French Open crown in
June, will face 59th-ranked Argentine lucky loser Leonardo Mayer on
Saturday for a berth in the last 16.
Mayer is 0-3 against Nadal, losing most recently in the third round of his 2014 title run at Roland Garros.
didn't play very well but tomorrow I will work hard to find better
feelings because I know I can do much better," said Nadal, the 2010 and
The highest-seeded obstacle in Nadal's path to the
semi-finals, and a possible first-ever US Open matchup with long-time
rival Roger Federer, is Belgian ninth seed David Goffin.
But the tantalising prospect requires three more wins for each of them.
the matches are difficult but especially here as everyone wants to play
their best and if you don't play your best it will be very difficult,"
Daniel, 24, took the first set and traded breaks early
in the second with Nadal, serving notice the left-handed legend would
have a fight to avoid his earliest ouster on the New York hardcourts
since the second round in 2004.
But Nadal won the last four games
to capture the second set, parlaying forehand volley and down-the-line
winners into the key break in the eighth game, and dominated the third
set to seize command.
"I was down a set and a break but I had lots
of opportunities so if I keep going and working hopefully I will
convert those chances," Nadal said.
In the fourth set, Daniel's
fifth double fault handed Nadal a break and a 3-2 edge and the top seed
broke again with a forehand winner in the seventh game, then denied
Daniel on two break points in holding serve to advance.
who ousted US wildcard Tommy Paul in five sets in his opener, missed out
on his first trip to the third round at a Grand Slam.
Results from day 4 of the US Open on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Taro Daniel (JPN) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, 6-0
Aleksandr Dolgopolov (UKR) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x15) 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
David Goffin (BEL x9) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3
Gael Monfils (FRA x18) bt Donald Young (USA) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
Damir Džumhur (BIH) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1
Andrey Rublev (RUS) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Roger Federer (SUI x3) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x31) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x33) bt Santiago Giraldo (COL) 6-2, 6-1, 3-0 - retired
John Millman (AUS) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-1
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x11) bt Dustin Brown (GER) 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG x24) bt Adrián Menéndez (ESP) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA x30) bt Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-2
Dominic Thiem (AUT x6) bt Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
Karolína Plíšková (CZE x1) bt Nicole Gibbs (USA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Zhang Shuai (CHN x27) bt Risa Ozaki (JPN) 6-0, 6-3
Jennifer Brady (USA) bt Barbora Strycová (CZE) 6-1, 6-1
Monica Niculescu (ROM) bt Ana Bogdan (ROM) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x10) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-5, 6-2
Coco Vandeweghe (USA x20) bt Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2
Lucie Safarova (CZE) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
Kurumi Nara (JPN) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x8) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-4, 6-4
Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Elena Vesnina (RUS x17) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-4, 6-4
Madison Keys (USA x15) bt Tatjana Malek (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x12) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-4, 6-4
Darya Kasatkina (RUS) bt Christina McHale (USA) 7-5, 6-3
Kaia Kanepi (EST) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-4, 6-2
Naomi Osaka (JPN) bt Denisa Allertová (CZE) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5