(CNN) -- World number one Rafael Nadal got his bid to win his first ever U.S. Open title off to a good start with a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 first-round victory over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal will now face Uzbek Denis Istomin in the second round after a match in which the Spaniard was unable to break the serve of player ranked 98 in the world until well into the third set.
However, the Wimbledon and French Open champion wore his opponent down in the tie breaks to set up a more comfortable third-set win for the match.
"I had a few terrible mistakes with the breakpoints, so I went for two tie breaks," Nadal told the official U.S. Open website following the match. "I played well in the two tie breaks, I think [which] is important for the confidence," he added.
If Nadal is successful in claiming the U.S. Open title he will join Rod Laver, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as the only men to have won three consecutive grand slam titles.
Elsewhere, Nadal Djokovic battled to a 6-3 3-6 2-6 7-5 6-3 win over compatriot Viktor Troicki in his opening game. After sealing the win the number three seed admitted the energy-sapping match had taken its toll.
"I've played a lot of long matches in very difficult conditions, feeling very exhausted ... You kind of start panicking a bit when you don't feel great physically," Djokovic told the tournament's website.
"I tried to tell myself, hang in there, you know, the chance will come. He will get tired too," he added.
Marcos Baghdatis succumbed to a shock defeat to Arnaud Clement of France -- losing 6-3 2-6 1-6 6-4 7-5 at the Louis Armstrong Stadium -- while David Nalbandian and Fernando Verdasco both booked their tickets to the second round.
Argentine Nalbandian bounced back from a break down to beat South Africa's Rik de Voest over five sets, while Verdasco saw off the challenge of Italy's Fabio Fognini in five sets to insure the Spaniard did not repeat his first-round exit of Wimbledon.
Following the recent good form that saw him finish second to Roger Federer in Cincinnati, number 19 seed Mardy Fish showed his character to emerge as victor over Jan Hajek in a 6-0 3-6 4-6 6-0 6-1 win.