Nadal and Djokovic advance in US Open

Defending champion Rafa Nadal saved seven set points in the second set and battled back from two breaks down in the third to beat Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-3 7-6 7-5 in his opening match at the US Open.

Nadal was far from his best but raised his game at the most critical points, to subdue the surprising Golubev, who came to Flushing Meadows with a 6-24 record this year.

Golubev dictated points by moving inside the baseline to slash groundstrokes into both corners and make deft use of the drop shot against the French Open champion.

Ten-times Grand Slam winner Nadal showed his championship class in roaring back from 2-5 down in the third set after winning the second-set tiebreak 7-1.

In the other match World number one Novak Djokovic also advanced when his opponent, Ireland's Conor Niland, retired sick while trailing 6-0 5-1.

Niland, the first Irishman ever to make the main draw at Flushing Meadows, was forced to withdraw after just 44 minutes after suffering from food poisoning.

Niland had been suffering from food poisoning even before the match began, and was clearly unable to move around the court as he would have wished, or to muster any real challenge to the tournament favourite.

Djokovic will now face Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.

Fifth seed David Ferrer defeated Igor Andreev of Russia 2-6 6-3 6-0 6-4.

Ferrer will next take on James Blake after the American's 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-4 win over Jesse Huta Galung of the Netherlands.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga swept past Yen-Hsun Lu in straight sets, 6-4 6-4 6-4.

Tsonga always looked to have too much class for his hard-working opponent, and the 11th seed will next take on Sergey Bubka Jr., who beat Andreas Haider-Maurer in his first-round clash.

Mikhail Youzhny of Russia crashed out in the first round, losing to the mercurial Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in straight sets, 6-2 6-4 6-4.

The 16th seed's defeat sees Gulbis progress to face Gilles Muller, who saw off Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4.

Stanislas Wawrinka did not suffer the same fate, however, with the Swiss 14th seed recovering from a set down to defeat Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 3-6 6-4 6-1 6-3 to set up a clash with Donald Young of the USA.

It was a much better day for the unseeded Nikolay Davydenko, who dumped out Ivan Dodig of Croatia - the 32nd seed - in five sets.

Dodig clinched the opening set before losing the next two 6-3 6-0, respectively, and despite taking the fourth 6-2, the Croat was blown away by the same score in the fifth.

Potito Starace of Italy will be Davydenko's next opponent in the second round.

More in Tennis

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition