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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia opened his U.S. Open title bid with a solid 6-4 6-1 6-3 victory over American Michael Russell on Monday.
The Russian, twice a semi-finalist in New York but still making his way back after a wrist injury this year, recovered from a slow start to cruise through in two hours, 21 minutes.
Davydenko won the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London last November but is still chasing his first grand slam title and has not reached the last four of any grand slam since the 2007 U.S. Open.
The 29-year-old has struggled for fluency since returning to action in June after 11 weeks out with a broken left wrist, winning back-to-back matches for the first time in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
World number 80 Russell had never won a match in five previous U.S. Open tournaments but looked in the mood to cause a shock when he broke the Russian's serve early on his way to a 4-2 lead.
But Davydenko pulled himself together and won four straight games to take the opening set before ripping through the second set losing just one game.
Russell lifted his game again but Davydenko broke in the third game of the third set and repeated the feat in the eighth game to seal a convincing victory.
Next up for Davydenko is Frenchman Richard Gasquet, a straight-sets winner over Simon Greul of Germany.
Editing by Frank Pingue