Big man Juan Martin del Potro continues to quietly impress at the US Open. The 2009 champion hasn’t dropped a set through four matches, today punishing an irritable Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 this evening.
The 6-foot-6 del Potro is back in the quarterfinals at the US Open for a third straight year, and on Tuesday he’ll meet American John Isner who he lost to in Miami.
Isner had to go five sets for a second time the first week in turning away Milos Raonic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to reach his first US Open quarterfinal since 2011.
“Fortunately for me there were no tie-breaks. There wasn’t one in the fifth. That’s a high-pressure situation. I would have relished it if that moment did come, but I was able to win in a little bit easier fashion,” Isner said. “Everyone was expecting maybe five tie-breaks. If that’s the case, so be it. But I didn’t go out there expecting that. I knew that I could try to impose myself as best as I possibly could, try to do it without winning with a seven on the ledger.”
Raonic said mid-way through the fourth set he hurt his hip, for which he required a medical timeout at the start of the fifth.
Earlier in the day, Rafael Nadal looked well on his way to a comfortable straight set win over Nikolaz Basilishvili, leading the Georgian by two sets and a break. But things got complicated as Nadal’s play dipped and energized by the crowd, Basilishvili caught fire, won a tight tiebreaker but couldn’t sustain it in a four set 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4 loss.
“The beginning of the third was the only thing, because I had Love-40 and probably was that moment that I needed to push a little bit more and close the match,” Nadal said. “I missed a forehand down the line in that Love-40, but was a bad decision that forehand, no? That was the moment to put all my senses to that point. Because with two sets to Love, 2-0 serving, big chance of 3-0 probably.
“The match was almost close and then the match became more difficult.”
Nadal has won his last 11 matches at the US Open, and next meeting Dominic Thiem in a rematch of their French Open final.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Nadal said of Theim. “He’s a very powerful player. He’s a great guy. Very good relationship with him. Happy for him that he’s in quarterfinals here. Last year he lost a very tough match against Del Potro here.
“In some way he deserve to be where he is. Gonna be a tough one. He’s very powerful player, and, yeah, he knows how to play these kind of matches. Yeah, I need to play my best match of the tournament if I want to keep having chances to stay in the tournament.”
Thiem reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal off of clay knocking out 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6(2) after losing just four points on first serve all day.
“I served really, really well today,” said Thiem. “Not the best percentage, but I almost made every point in the first serve game. So I didn’t face one break point, and I didn’t feel so much pressure on service games.
“So it was a little bit easier to play the return games. I could change my return position, and this helped me a lot. And also the court, I think, made a big difference. It’s a huge court. I could go very far back like I do on clay usually.”
Anderson had won all six meetings with Thiem coming into the day. And after two 5-set matches, he did look weary on the court, but credited the Austrian.
“I definitely felt he played a great match,” Anderson said. “He made life pretty difficult for me. I thought he defended amazingly.
“I think a lot of success I have had in the past is I have been able to work points, find the right time to come forward. Still had a pretty good success rate coming forward today, but there were pockets where he had some unbelievable passing shots, made me hit another ball. That made things pretty tough.”
Tomorrow, we’ll know if Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet on quarterfinal Wednesday. Both will be heavy favorites against the likes of John Millman and Joao Sousa, respectively.
After a 5-set escape against Alex De Minaur, Marin Cilic returns to take on David Goffin and Kei Nishikori clashes with German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.
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