Rafael Nadal cruises to straight-set win in opener at U.S. Open

Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Ryan Harrison after dispatching the young American on Monday. Credit: Getty Images
Rafael Nadal, left, shakes hands with Ryan Harrison after dispatching the young American on Monday.
Credit: Getty Images

Rafael Nadal says he’s just a normal guy.

“Everything very normal,” said Nadal, the world’s No. 2-ranked tennis player. “Nothing strange in my life. I practice. … I go fishing. I play golf. I go party when I have the chance to go party. That’s all. Really normal guy, normal life.”

Nadal’s colleagues on the tennis tour might beg to differ.

After crushing American Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, Monday in a first-round match at the U.S. Open, Nadal improved to 16-0 on hardcourts this year and did nothing to dispel the notion he’s a heavy favorite in New York.

“Even though he wins Cincinnati and Canada, he’s thinking about peaking here, which he’s going to have a really good chance because he’s one of the greatest players ever,” said Harrison, one of three American men to lose on Monday, along with Rhyne Williams and Michael Russell.

Asked what Harrison — and his fellow Americans — need to do to help catapult them into the top echelon, Nadal said in a deadpan, “Improve.”

Nadal was playing his first match in Flushing Meadows since the 2011 final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic. He missed last year’s tournament with a bum left knee that kept him out of action for seven months.

“Today the first match after two years in the Arthur Ashe [Stadium], so is a great feeling,” said Nadal, winner of nine tournaments this year.

Nadal’s draw figures to get tougher as the tournament progresses.

He could face big-serving, 6-foot-10 American John Isner in the fourth round, and five-time Open champ Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. Isner debuts on Tuesday, and Federer played later Monday.

After that, Nadal could meet fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the semifinals and either defending champion Andy Murray or Djokovic, the world No. 1, in the final.

But considering his record this year and throughout his career, even that stretch of matches doesn’t seem too daunting.

Nadal is 15-1 against the Top 10 this year, and 9-1 against Djokovic, Federer and Ferrer.

For his career, his record is 229-55 (.806) against the Top 30, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“I just played very well,” Nadal said. “Happy the way I was playing. I don’t know if it was the best or not, but was very good because I was able to win.”

Just another day at the office for a normal guy.

Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter @AdamZagoria for updates throughout the U.S. Open.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.