Rafael Nadal should head into the second week of the US Open with a spring in his step after another routine win at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal was the beneficiary of a walkover in his second-round match after Thanasi Kokkinakis’ withdrawal and needed just under two hours to beat Hyeon Chung in the third round in New York on Saturday.
Spanish second seed Nadal – looking to reclaim the title he won in 2017 – will next face 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who won the battle of the big servers with John Isner.
While Nadal has enjoyed a routine first week, Alexander Zverev continued to showcase a flair for the dramatic, needing four sets to beat Aljaz Bedene and reach the last 16.
ZVEREV: EVERYTHING CAN BE BETTER
Sixth seed Zverev played three tie-break sets in overcoming Bedene 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 7-6 (7-3), requiring three hours, 36 minutes to get through to round four.
It was another marathon effort from the German, which came on the back of a pair of five-setters with Radu Albot and Frances Tiafoe.
I get knocked down, but I get up again
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 31, 2019
Diego Schwartzman – a winner against Tennys Sandgren – is next for Zverev, who knows the difficulty of his match is only going to increase.
“It doesn’t get easier, the opponents don’t get easier, the matches don’t get easier,” he said.
“There’s still a lot of things to improve. Obviously, I mean, if you go into details, we’ll be here for a very long time. In general, the serving, the returning. Everything can still be better.”
MONFILS PRODUCES MAGIC AT SECOND HOME
Gael Monfils went the distance against Denis Shapovalov, the 13th seed eventually prevailing 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3.
Monfils’ best grand slam results came at the 2008 French Open and in 2016 at Flushing Meadows, reaching the semi-finals on each occasion.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2019
Asked if he feels if the US Open is his second home, Monfils replied: “Here is definitely the second for me, the second slam in my heart, the second biggest tournament in my heart for many reasons.
“Also New York, my idol is Arthur Ashe. Always something magic happen. I feel very good here.”
Pablo Andujar is Monfils’ next opponent. The 33-year-old progressed to the second week of a slam for the first time in his career with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 defeat of Alexander Bublik.
GAMER KYRGIOS STRUGGLES UNDER LIGHTS
Nick Kyrgios had a tough act to follow as he faced Andrey Rublev last on Arthur Ashe following the blockbuster clash between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff.
The enigmatic Australian could not live up to the occasion, losing 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, having conceded to finding it difficult to see during the match.
He was heard saying “Call of Duty will ruin my life” at one point. Asked about those remarks, the 28th seed replied: “I was just taking a shot because I game a lot.
“My eyes might have taken a while to adjust to the lights, yeah. Bit of a gamer.”
His fellow Aussie Alexei Popyrin was beaten by Matteo Berrettini 6-4 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-2).