Rafael Nadal didn't have the easiest first round in the 2011 U.S. Open, but the Spaniard was able to come out on top with a straight-set victory over Andrey Golubev. Nadal, the tournament's No. 2 seed, was tested more than most expected considering his Kazakhstani opponent entered the tournament ranked 98th in the world.
Nadal's set wins came via 6-3, 7-6, 7-5 scores, but it took him nearly three hours to dismiss Golubev from the tournament at Flushing Meadows. Even the second-best tennis player in the world was surprised he was able to pull out a seemingly easy victory -- at least considering that he was able to hold Golubev without a set point -- despite some struggles.
"It's a positive start winning in straight sets," Nadal said after his opening round, "even if it was unbelievable that I won straight sets."
Judging from the Golubev-Nadal highlights posted on Youtube, it doesn't seem that it was actually "unbelievable" that Nadal won in straight sets. Regardless, he vows to get better as the tournament marches forward now that his jitters are out of the way.
"It's normal [to] start with doubts, with more nervous," Nadal said. "You have to find your confidence."