Rafael Nadal dropped a set but other than that was in complete control defeating Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a battle of former US Open winners.
Cilic looked to be in the match after taking the second – Rafa’s first set loss of the event – but the Spaniard didn’t look kindly upon the Croat dropping just three games in the last two sets during a high-energy win that produced a scintillating around-the-post winner to set up match point.
“For some moments in the second set I felt there were too many points in his hands,” Nadal said. “He was pushing me back and playing more aggressive than me. I was way back on the return and he was with the right determination to go inside the court.”
Earlier, Alexander Zverev’s puzzling results continued as the German star fell to the diminutive Diego Schwartzman 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
Zverev got the better of the Argentine in the first, but the double faults and erratic play once again got the best of him. In the end, he tossed in 17 double faults and 65 unforced errors.
“My first serve is still fine. My second serve needs to be worked on. But I’ll deal with it,” Zverev said.
“Credit to him. He played a great match. I thought he was playing very aggressive. You know, he’s playing well.”
Schwartzman makes his second US Open quarterfinal, thanks in part to his return.
“Today Alex have a struggle,” Schwartzman said. “With the second serve, many double-faults. That give me a lot of chances in many games, chances to be back in the game, chances to have breakpoints.
“I was thinking, Okay, how I’m going to take these chances when I have to? I think it’s a big part of my game, the return. Today I did great, you know, putting apart his double-faults.”
Matteo Berrettini reached his first Slam quarterfinal ousting Andrey Rublev in straight sets 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(6). The 23-year-old becomes the first Italian to make the US Open quarters since Corrado Barazzutti in 1977.
The big Berrettini will now take a new Top 20 ranking into the next round against Gael Monfils. The flying Frenchman destroyed Pablo Andujar 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to reach his fourth quarterfinal at the US Open.
On Tuesday, the quarterfinals begin with Stan Wawrinka trying to avenge a 2017 Wimbledon loss to the red-hot Daniil Medvedev. At night, Roger Federer returns to challenge Baby Fed Grigor Dimitrov who is playing his best tennis of the year.
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