Rafael Nadal has said that he wonders if he'll ever regain his former dominance. But if Wednesday afternoon's straight-set defeat of Argentinian Diego Schwartzman is any indication, the Nadal of today is still working with plenty of the Rafa of old.
Nadal won the 22nd of his last 23 U.S. Open matches to advance to the third round, defeating Schwartzman, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5, on the Louis Armstrong court.
Schwartzman looked uneven in the first-set tiebreaker, and Nadal dominated the second set -- Schwartzman did not record a single point in the final two games of the set. Nadal broke Schwartzman's serve in the final game of the third set to win the match.
Nadal suffered a wrist injury in 2014 and, despite winning the Open in 2010 and 2013, is no longer considered a favorite after seeing his ranking drop five places this year, from No. 3 to No. 8.