New York - Rafael
Nadal ramped up his quest for a fourth US Open title on Monday with an
impressive win over 2014 champion Marin Cilic to advance to the
quarter-finals while Alexander Zverev slumped to a four-set defeat.
Second seed Nadal - the winner at Flushing Meadows in 2010, 2013 and
2017 - produced some electrifying moments of brilliance to end the
challenge of Croatian 22nd seed Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
After barely breaking a sweat in reaching the last 16, a run that
included a second-round walkover, Nadal stared down his stiffest test so
far to surge into a quarter-final meeting with Argentine 20th seed
The Spaniard exchanged the first two sets with Cilic but grasped
control by breaking for 3-1 in the third, a series of dazzling winners
drawing an animated fist-pump from golf legend Tiger Woods at Arthur
Nadal reeled off nine games in succession across the third and fourth
sets and 12 of the final 15 to nail down a 40th Grand Slam
quarter-final appearance, nine of which have come at the US Open.
"The emotions I have when I play here are impossible to describe. I
love the sport and feel very lucky to still be playing tennis here.
Eight years ago I didn't think that would happen as my body was
suffering badly," Nadal said.
"It's a huge honour playing in front of all of you and playing in
front of Tiger is a very special thing. I always say I don't have big
idols but one idol is him and I always try to follow him."
Nadal's path to the final sees him take on Schwartzman next after the 5-foot-7 (1.70m) Argentine chopped down sixth seed Zverev.
"He is playing amazing, nothing new, he's one of the players with
best talent on tour," the 18-time Grand Slam champion said of his
"It will be a big challenge. I have to play my best. I'm happy for him. He's a close friend and I hope to play a great match."
through the opening set against Schwartzman under the roof on Ashe
during a rainy afternoon session, but he lost his way to go down 3-6,
6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
The German was enjoying his deepest run in New York but committed 17
double faults and 65 unforced errors and received a point penalty for
swearing as Schwartzman advanced to a second US Open quarter-final in
"Generally my season so far has not been the best," said Zverev, who
has reached just two quarter-finals in 18 Grand Slam appearances.
Zverev said he was hindered a "very swollen" back and right hip following a fall in his previous match.
"I had a lot of chances which I didn't use early in the match. He kind of ran away with it."
Zverev lost his serve three times during the second set but appeared
to have steadied himself when he moved a break ahead at 3-2 in the
third, only for Schwartzman to wrest the momentum back in his favour
after a lengthy sixth game.
"It was tough because I was feeling I had the chance to win this and I
had a few break points I could not take," Schwartzman said. "He was up a
break and then I recovered really quickly and I felt great after
Matteo Berrettini became just the second Italian man to progress to
the US Open quarter-finals, 42 years after Corrado Barazzutti's run to
the last four in New York.
Berrettini, the 24th seed, eased to a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) win over
Russia's 43rd-ranked Andrey Rublev to reach the last eight at a Grand
Slam for the first time.
"It's something really crazy. I cannot believe it right now. I need a
few hours to understand what happened," said Berrettini, 23, who goes
on to play French 13th seed Gael Monfils.
"I'm just happy. Seeing my team and family here and crying, for me it's unbelievable."
Berrettini went one step further than his run to the last 16 at Wimbledon in July, where he was beaten by Roger Federer.
Monfils, a 2016 US Open semi-finalist, crushed the 33-year-old
Andujar's bid to become the oldest player in the Open era to reach his
first Grand Slam singles quarter-final with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 rout.
US Open results on Monday (x denotes seeding):
Matteo Berrettini (ITA x24) bt Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6)
Gael Monfils (FRA x13) bt Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
Diego Schwartzman (ARG x20) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x6) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x22) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Belinda Bencic (SUI x13) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN x1) 7-5, 6-4
Donna Vekic (CRO x23) bt Julia Goerges (GER x26) 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-3
Bianca Andreescu (CAN x15) bt Taylor Townsend (USA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
Elise Mertens (BEL x25) bt Kristie Ahn (USA) 6-1, 6-1