Tennis: Nadal overpowers Daniel at US Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts against Taro Daniel of Japan in their second round Men's Singles match on Day Four of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Aug 31, 2017.
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts against Taro Daniel of Japan in their second round Men's Singles match on Day Four of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Aug 31, 2017.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

(REUTERS) - World No. 1 Rafael Nadal came from behind to dispatch underdog Taro Daniel of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at the US Open on Thursday (Aug 31).

Despite playing a marathon five-setter the day before, 121st-ranked Daniel looked the fresher of the pair at the outset of the match, breaking Nadal to take a 5-4 advantage when the Spaniard dumped a forehand into the net.

He eventually won the set and appeared poised to deliver a massive upset.

But Nadal soon found the accuracy that had eluded him in the first set and his booming serve proved too much for the exhausted 24-year-old, who is now 0-6 against top-20 opponents in his career.

"All the matches are difficult, especially here where everyone wants to play their best," Nadal said in an on-court interview at the Arthur Ashe Stadium after the win.

"It's true that I didn't play very well tonight but it's also true that I'm through to the next round."

Nadal is now one step closer to a potential semi-final match against third seed Roger Federer, who won his second consecutive five-set match earlier on Thursday.

"I am here to improve every day. I believe I can do it much better and I really feel I am going to do it much better," Nadal added.

Next up for the 31-year-old is a third-round match against aggressive Argentinian Leonardo Mayer.