Roger Federer is eager to rekindle his rivalry with Rafael Nadal for the first time at the US Open in what would be a blockbuster clash at night, when he has been virtually unbeatable. The 17-time major winner could face Nadal in the quarter-finals with the dream match-up almost certain to take place under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Federer has won 22 of 23 matches. His only loss in the traditionally raucous evening sessions came at the hands of Juan Martin Del Potro in the 2009 final.
“I understand the urge of the press to try to go there already, which is entirely normal,” said Federer, keen not to get too carried away as he still has to get past Tommy Robredo in today’s fourth round before a potential quarter-final match-up with Nadal. “I have gone through that my entire career, people talking about our matches even before the tournament started. “We’re used to it. We know how to handle it. Clearly I think we both hope it’s going to happen this time for the first time in New York.” Five-time champion Federer clinched another night victory in New York on Saturday with a comfortable 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 win over French World No 63 Adrian Mannarino.
Nadal, the 2010 champion, had earlier cruised past Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, to set-up a last-16 clash with Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. Federer said he revels in the party atmosphere of night-time New York in the sport’s biggest arena. “I have played I think 20-plus matches under the lights here and other tournaments as well around the world for years,” he said.
“It’s something I’m used to. But in this stadium with this crowd it’s always very particular, clearly, because it is the biggest stadium in the world, it is New York City, and you don’t ever know how many times more you’re going to play on this court. You always want to enjoy it.” Federer said he was ready for another tough encounter with Robredo despite his perfect 10-0 record in meetings with the Spaniard, who has now made the fourth round for the eighth time. “I think he’s a very good player. Mentally and physically really tough. I think he showed that in Paris this year. He won three five-setters in a row,” he said.