New York: Robin Soderling avoided becoming the first big-name casualty of the US Open as the fifth seed secured a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4 first-round victory over Andreas Haider-Maurer on Monday.
Soderling, a quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows last year, had his opening service game of the match broken by the Austrian qualifier.
The Swede, cheered on by a vocal group of supporters wearing Swedish soccer shirts, broke back to take the first set and looked set to win in straight sets but failed to convert a series of match points in the 10th game of the third set.
Haider-Maurer, in his grand slam debut, forced a tiebreak during which Soderling looked a shadow of the player that knocked out Roger Federer en route June`s French Open final.
Haider-Maurer, ranked 214th in the world and on his first visit to American soil, was unfazed in what was his first match against a top-10 player as he wrapped up the tiebreak 7-2.
The Austrian`s powerful serve - he recorded 34 aces in the match - and his heavy hitting unsettled Soderling in the fourth set, which looked to be heading to another tiebreak.
But serving 5-6 down and facing a break point, Soderling hit an easy smash into the net to take the match to a decider.
Soderling`s superior experience and fitness showed almost immediately as he broke his opponent`s serve at the first attempt before comfortably rounding off the match.