Nadal, Fed closer to showdown
New York - Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer can take a step closer to a first US Open clash when they aim for a spot in the fourth round on Saturday.
The two rivals, with 29 Grand Slam titles between them, have met 31 times in their careers but have never gone head-to-head in New York.
However, for their quarter-final dream clash to be realised, both men first have to deal with tricky third-round opponents.
Second seed Nadal, with nine titles already under his belt since returning from a seven-month injury layoff in February and boasting a 17-0 record on hardcourts this year, tackles Croatia's Ivan Dodig.
Dodig, the world number 38 from Croatia, surprisingly beat Nadal the last time they met in Montreal in 2011.
"Dodig is a tough player. I lost to him the last time in a tough, close match. He has had two good wins here over Fernando Verdasco and Nikolay Davydenko. He's very dangerous," said Nadal, the 2010 champion in New York.
Five-time champion Federer faces unseeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who reached the third round with a five-set dismissal of US 26th seed Sam Querrey.
Federer enjoys a 2-0 career lead over the 25-year-old, world number 63, winning their last clash at Wimbledon in straight sets in 2011.
Belarusian second seed Victoria Azarenka, the runner-up to Serena Williams in 2012, chases a fourth-round place when she faces French 26th seed Alize Cornet.
Australian Open champion Azarenka has dropped just four games in two rounds so far.