Defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal sent close friend David Ferrer into Grand Slam retirement on Monday when his veteran compatriot was forced to quit their first-round match with an injury, but former winners Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka made successful returns to New York.
Ferrer, a former world number three but now standing at a lowly 148, called it quits on a hot and humid night on Arthur Ashe Stadium despite leading 4-3 with a break in the second set after twice receiving treatment on a left leg injury. Top seed Nadal had taken the opener 6-3.
“This is my last Grand Slam,” said Ferrer who was runner-up to Nadal in the 2013 French Open final.
Ferrer, 36, will play his last tournament on home ground in Madrid next year.
“I am very sorry for David and sad for him,” said Nadal.
“He is one of the greatest players to have come from our country. He’s a great person and great player.”
Nadal will face Canada’s Vasek Pospisil for a place in the last 32. Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro also reached the second round with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 win over American qualifier Donald Young. He next faces Denis Kudla of the United States.
Former world number one Murray marked his first Grand slam tournament in 14 months with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 win over Australia’s James Duckworth.
Murray goes on to face Fernando Verdasco. Former champion Wawrinka showed no sign of rustiness, defeating eighth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
Men: 1st rd: Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt David Ferrer (ESP) 6-3, 3-4 _ retired; Kevin Anderson (RSAx5) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x3) bt Donald Young (USA) 6-0,6-3,6-4; Andy Murray (GBR) bt James Duckworth (AUS) 6-7(5/7), 6-3, 7-5,6-3; John Isner (USA x11) bt Bradley Klahn (USA) 7 -6(7/3),6-3,6-4; Milos Raonic (CAN x25) bt Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 1-6,6-3; Stan Wawrinka (SUI) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x8) 6-3,6-2,7-5
Women: 1st rd: Kaia Kanepi (EST) bt Simona Halep (ROM x1) 6-2,6-4; Serena Williams (USAx17) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3; Garbine Muguruza (ESPx12) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-3,6-0; Karolina Pliskova (CZEx8) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-1, 7-5
From online sources