US Open: Now is the time to be at my best, says Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is confident that he will deliver the goods ahead of quarter-final clash against Dominic Thiem, the only player to beat the Spaniard on clay
Rafael Nadal believes now is the moment to step up the defence of his US Open title after another tough battle against Nikoloz Basilashvili. After battling for nearly four and a half hours to beat Karen Khachanov on Friday, Nadal was again pushed beyond the three-hour mark before defeating his Georgian opponent 6-3 6-3 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 on Sunday.
Basilashvili, ranked 37, had won just a single game against Nadal in their only previous meeting at the French Open last year but played superbly here, especially in the third-set tie-break.
Watch out, Rafa!
Next up for Nadal is a quarter-final against ninth seed Dominic Thiem, who is the only player to beat him on clay for the last two seasons. Nadal defeated Thiem in the French Open final but has a lot of respect for the Austrian.
"He's a fantastic player," said Nadal. "He's a very powerful player. He's a great guy. I have a very good relationship with him. It's going to be a tough one. He knows how to play these kind of matches. I need to play my best match of the tournament if I want to keep having chances to stay in the tournament. "I need to step forward and be more aggressive. I did a lot of things well during the whole season. It's the moment to make it happen again," Nadal said.
Ex-champ Potro advances
Former champion Juan Martin del Potro cruised into the quarter-finals of the US Open on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Croatia's Borna Coric. The third-seeded Argentine, who lifted the trophy in Flushing Meadows in 2009, is in the quarter-finals for a third straight year and sixth time overall.
Isner in quarters after seven years
New York: John Isner continued his career-best season by defeating Milos Raonic in five sets to reach the quarters for the first time in seven years. The biggest surprise of the clash between the two big servers was that it did not feature a single tie-break, with Isner winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 3-6, 6-2.
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