Favourites keep rolling

New York, August 30:

Rafael Nadal struggled to earn a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 first-round victory over Australian wild-card Alun Jones at the US Open on Wednesday.

Roger Federer had no difficulty defeating Chile’s Paul Capdeville 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 as he bids to become the first man since the 1920s to claim four consecutive US championships.

The World No 1, Federer next faces John Isner, who beat Rik de Voest of South Africa 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Like Federer, other past US Open champions in action won in straight sets: Venus and Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Marat Safin.

Top-seeded women’s player Henin advanced into the third round with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

Former Open champion Safin, crowd pleaser Ana Ivanovic, No 8 Tommy Robredo, No 10 Marion Bartoli, No 11 Mikhail Youzhny, No 14 Elena Dementieva, No 17 Carlos Moya and No 19 Sybille Bammer also won in straight sets.

Safin beat Frank Dancevic of Canada 7-5, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7). Tim Henman, playing his final Grand Slam, also advanced. The unseeded Brit beat No 27 Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.