NEW YORK (AFP) - Rafael Nadal took his US Open record to 22 wins in his last 23 matches when he beat diminutive Argentine Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-5 to reach the third round on Wednesday.
Eighth-seeded Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, came back from a break down in both the second and third sets to book a clash with volatile Italian Fabio Fognini for a place in the last-16.
Nadal lost to Fognini in Rio and Barcelona this year before gaining revenge over the Italian in the Hamburg final in July.
"I feel lucky to be through. It was very humid and Diego was very aggressive so to take the first set was very important," said Nadal, who missed the US Open in 2012 and 2014 through injury.
Nadal had needed four sets to see off Croatian teenager Borna Coric in the first round on Monday and was tested again by 5ft 7in Schwartzman, the world No. 73 who has never beaten a top 10 player.
Nadal surrendered a 5-2 lead in the first set before clinchng the tiebreak and was 2-0 down in the second set and 3-2 behind in the third before he rallied.
He claimed victory on a second match point courtesy of a net cord but having committed 40 unforced errors, he will know that there is still plenty of work to do if he is to claim a 15th Grand Slam.