Nadal launches U.S. Open quest with powerful win

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks out at the crowd during his first round match against Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World number one Rafa Nadal made a powerful start in his determined bid to complete a career grand slam by winning a 7-6 7-6 6-3 slugfest against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Showing more power than ever in his serve and looking comfortable on a Arthur Ashe center court, the 24-year-old Spaniard claimed the first two tiebreaks by 7-4.

Top seed Nadal registered the first service break of the high-quality match when the 93rd-ranked Gabashvili netted an easy forehand in the seventh game of the third set before closing the match with another break.

Eight-times grand slam champion Nadal, winner of this year’s French and Wimbledon championships, will next meet Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, a straight sets winner over Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina.

Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue