There were no problems for either of the top players remaining in both sections of the singles draw as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Karolina Pliskova advanced to the quarter-final of the 2017 US Open.
Nadal, the world number one going into this US Open, was expected to face a stiff competition from Alexandr Dolgopolov but cruised to a straight-set victory over the Ukrainian. He won 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 to enter his seventh quarter-final at Flushing Meadows.
The Spaniard will now take on Andrey Rublev, a 117th-ranked Russian, who has had a dream run at this Grand Slam after having never made it past the second round in previous majors.
Rublev, who had earlier dispatched Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, was equally clinical in his victory over the ninth seeded David Goffin. He won 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 to set up the Nadal meeting for the very first time in his career.
And if the 10-time French Open winner, Nadal manages to win that match and if Federer can overcome former adversary Juan Martin del Potro in his quarter-final then it could set up an exciting semi-final between the two champions.
By the looks of things, Federer will start off as favourites, having won his second successive straight-setter. He had no problem disposing off Phillip Kohlscrieber in his fourth round encounter, posting a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 victory.
Del Potro, who had had to take a longish break from tennis because of fitness issues, could well have been knocked out of the tournament after going down two sets against Dominic Thiem.
However, he suddenly found some rhythm and once the turnaround had been achieved he won the next three sets to fix up his date with Federer.
It’s interesting to see that Federer and del Potro have clashed 21 times in the past with the Argentine having managed to win five of those encounters – a rarity of a record for anyone outside Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
This includes a win at the 2009 US Open final where a 25-year-old del Potro surprised everyone including Federer to win his only Grand Slam tournament.
In the women’s side of the draw, the top-ranked Pliskova finished Jennifer Brady’s run in the competition, winning 6-1, 6-0 in their fourth round encounter. She now takes on another American in the form of Coco Vandeweghe who was a 6-4, 7-6 winner over Lucie Safarova in her fourth round match.
The other quarter-final will see Madison Keys face qualifier Kaia Kanepi.