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    Rafael Nadal finds groove after slow start to survive scare from Taro Daniel in US Open

    Sep 1, 2017
    Rafael Nadal woke up from a slow start to break down Taro Daniel. AP

    TOP-ranked Rafael Nadal came back from a set and a break down to beat Japan's Taro Daniel 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and reach the U.S. Open's third round.

    It took Nadal a little while to figure out Daniel, who is ranked 120 spots lower and often plays on the lower-level Challenger tour. Daniel has never been past the second round at a major tournament.

    Daniel was better in the opening set Thursday night (Friday, Manila time) and went ahead 2-1 in the second. But Nadal finally converted a break point on his sixth try of the match in the next game to get to 2-all and began to calibrate his big forehand better.

    Nadal has won his past 11 second-round matches at Flushing Meadows after losing in first two appearances at that stage back in 2003 and 2004.

    Nadal is a 15-time Grand Slam champion, including titles at the U.S. Open in 2010 and 2013.

    He plays 59th-ranked Leonardo Mayer next.

    Meanwhile, what already was a wide-open women's bracket became more so when 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by 116th-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The No. 8-seeded Kuznetsova's exit means five of the top eight women are already gone.

    Two other seeded women lost to Americans in the afternoon: Shelby Rogers edged No. 25 Daria Gavrilova 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in a tournament-record 3 hours, 33 minutes, and Jennifer Brady eliminated No. 23 Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-1.

    A couple of seeded men departed, too: No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 15 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up.

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    Rafael Nadal woke up from a slow start to break down Taro Daniel. AP
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