On a very wet day at Cincinnati, six of the eight scheduled third round matches were completed, leaving two to finish on Friday.
Grigor Dimitrov began the day posting his first career win over Juan Martin del Potro who was visibly struggling with the heat by the end of the match in a 6-3, 7-5 defeat.
“He’s a tricky opponent… a super-experienced player,” said Dimitrov. “I definitely had to stay away a little bit from that forehand. I knew if I keep the ball low on his backhand side and just kind of work my way into the court, it would have been the right thing to do.I think I did this thing very, very well today. The short slice really made him very uncomfortable, and he was giving me a lot of short balls, so I could start moving him with my forehand. It was also a bit of a mind game, because we know our game pretty well.”
Dimitrov, who made the semifinals a year ago, now faces the surprising Yuichi Sugita. The Japanese star stunned Jack Sock then on Thursday knocked out young Russian Karen Khachanov 6-7(0), 6-3, 6-3.
In an American generational showdown, John Isner took down Frances Tiafoe 7-6(4), 7-5. The 2013 finalist now meets a third straight wildcard countryman in Jared Donaldson on Friday in the quarterfinals.
The 20-year-old Donaldson reached his first career ATP final defeating Nikolaz Basilishvili 6-4, 7-6(4).
“I played Jared once,” said Isner. “It was on grass a couple years ago, so it’s been a while since we played. I can’t really take much stock into that match. He was two years younger than he is now. He’s playing some very good tennis. It’s very impressive to see. He works really hard.
“I don’t know if you guys agree, maybe he doesn’t quite get the credit that some of the other young guys that he’s with, and he’s the highest-ranked one right now. He’s certainly doing all the right things. I see him on the practice court. I see him working on his game, doing stuff in the gym. He has a good team around him. I think Jan-Michael Gambill is obviously doing a very good job for him.
“Tomorrow’s match will be tough, but I’m playing well, and I expect it to be a very tough match for him, as well. Just look forward to it. It’s going to be a good match.”
David Ferrer continued his return to form topping countryman Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-4. Next for Ferrer is No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem who was a 7-6, 7-6 victory over Adrian Mannarino.
“Against Ferrer it’s going to be a long and physically tough match,” said Thiem. “He’s playing way better again, including a great match against Federer last week. It’s going to be really tough but I’ve got some more confidence again and I hope I’m ready.”
In the evening, Nick Kyrgios and Ivo Karlovic were suspended at 4-3 in the first set while Rafael Nadal and Albert Ramos-Vinolas never got on the court as continued rain forced the cancellation of all play just after 11pm.
So tomorrow, Nadal is looking to have to win two matches to keep his hopes for a second Cincinnati title alive.
FRIDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER start 11:00 am
WTA –  G. Muguruza (ESP) vs  S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP –  R. Nadal (ESP) vs A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 00
ATP –  G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs Y. Sugita (JPN)
ATP – [WC] J. Donaldson (USA) vs  J. Isner (USA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA –  J. Konta (GBR) vs  S. Halep (ROU)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  R. Nadal (ESP) or A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs N. Kyrgios (AUS) or I. Karlovic (CRO)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
ATP – J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs I. Karlovic (CRO) 34
Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA –  K. Pliskova (CZE) or [Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) vs  C. Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP –  D. Thiem (AUT) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
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