World number two, Rafael Nadal, strolled into the second round of US Open on Tuesday, with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 first round victory over John Millman.
Millman recorded an upset at the tournament last year, when he beat five-time winner, Roger Federer, in a surprising run to the quarter-finals. But he was unable to recreate the same tempo against the relentless three-time winner.
Nadal 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,” he added.
Nadal, who retired last year from his semi-final match with a knee injury at the competition, was highly efficiency in his opening match of the year’s final Grand Slam.
The 33-year-old seemed to get better as the match went on. The Spaniard 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 that rattled Nadal under the lights at the Arthur Ashe Stadium was when he was getting ready to serve at 5-3 in the first set. The chair umpire issued a time violation against him, which he didn’t take well.
The 18 Grand Slam winner, who denied that he was not ready to serve on time, moved on over the issue as he took the set.
Nadal faced only three break points and he easily recovered. 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, he converted five of his 15 break point chances against Millman, who did not have the pace to keep up with this year’s French Open champion.
Serving for the match at 5-2, Nadal sealed the victory on his second match point with a sizzling forehand down the line that left Millman no chance.
He will next face Australian wildcard, Thanasi Kokkinakis.