NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal of Spain, aiming to complete a career grand slam by winning the one major title to elude him, won the first set of the U.S. Open final on Monday 6-4 against Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
An entertaining opening point went to Djokovic on a backhand crosscourt winner following a lively rally, but the Serbian seemed bothered by his left ankle and lost the next four points to give Nadal a service break for a quick lead.
Djokovic shrugged off the problem, moving freely across the court, and brought the set back on serve by breaking the Spaniard in the fourth game, taking advantage of Nadal errors to draw level 2-2 on only the third break of serve against the world number one in the tournament.
Nadal came right back to regain the advantage. Djokovic fought off five break points in the fifth game before failing to handle a groundstroke blast to his forehand. Nadal pumped his fist and Djokovic destroyed his racket with two angry bashes on the ground that drew him a code violation for racket abuse.
The top seed served out the 50-minute opening set at 15 when third-seeded Djokovic sent a backhand long.
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Frank Pingue