(September 3, 2022) FLUSHING MEEADOWS, New York – In a head-to-head matchup which dates back to when they were 12-year-olds, No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal beat Richard Gasquet for the 18th straight time as pros 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 in just over two hours to get to the round of 16 at the US Open,
“My best match in the tournament, Nadal said. “Yeah, easy. Easy to say that because the other day was tough.
“But, yeah, important improvement. But I need to keep going. It’s a good victory for me. Straight sets for the first time. Third set had been a challenge. He increased the level.
“Yeah, I went through some difficult moments. That’s something that is good that I went through that and safe that moments with a positive feelings.
“Happy to be in the fourth round, without a doubt.”
The No. 2 seed will play American Frances Tiafoe for a place in the quarterfinals on Monday.
“I think he’s playing great,” Nadal said. “He improved. He’s more solid than before. He has more matches and years on the tour. He has experience. He already competed in the biggest stages in advanced round, yeah.
“He’s a player who plays with a lot of passion, a lot of energy. He’s very quick. He can play very aggressive. I mean, he’s a player that I not going to win if I am not playing well. So I need to play well. I hope to make that happen.
“I know going to be a very important test for me. Fourth round of the US Open, I accept that, that I going to have a very tough opponent in front. In some ways a challenge for me. I enjoy that because I need to be ready for it. I need to increase the amount of energy. I need to increase the level intensity on the court. I hope to be able to make that happen.”
No. 1 Iga Swiatek went through to the fourth round in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 beating Lauren Davis,
“Well, for sure it wasn’t as smooth as in first and second round,” noted the Polish player. “I’m pretty happy I made it through and could close it in second set and come back. Yeah, that was pretty important for me.
“For sure she played totally differently than most of the players, which threw me a little bit off the rhythm. But I’m happy I was fighting till the end.”
“For me, the biggest thing I wanted to do was just not play too aggressively. On the other hand I was the one that was playing faster so I had to find a proper balance.”
“I really wanted to take her off the footwork because sometimes she played in a slower rhythm, but she could also play some flat, hard balls. Sometimes I wasn’t ready for it when she was changing that rhythm.
“Yeah, I took care of that and I just tried to take it point by point when I was losing 0-3. I think my focus got a little bit better because at the end of the first set and beginning of the second I was looking a little bit too much to the box.”
No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz put away American Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in Ashe Stadium to reach the fourth round of the US Open. Alcaraz rallied from 3-0 in the third set winning 6 straight games to close out the match. The 19-year-old Spaniard will face the winner of the 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic – Dan Evans.
“Well, I played amazing today,” said Alcaraz. “I would say the best match at the moment. Yeah, I feel great to have played this match today, a great level. I’m really happy with my performance today.”
“Well, he’s pretty tough opponent,” he said of Brooksby. “He beat the best player in the world. He had played great matches. He’s a great, great player. As I said, he’s really tough.
“He’s going to be very dangerous for the great players in the future. He’s right now, as well. He’s amazing.”
“He’s a great athlete and he’ll get a lot of balls back,” said Brooksby.
“I just think most of the disappointment lies on my performance today. “
“I knew what I needed to go out there and do in terms of a strategy from my end, and, you know, he’s a physical, strong player. I wasn’t able to dictate the points to the strategy that I wanted to. You know, I’m not going to be able to get the results I’m looking for if I can’t do that.”
Alcaraz now has the most wins on the ATP Tour in 2022 with 47.
Nick Kyrgios picked Alcaraz to win the tournament and the Spaniard commented: “For me is crazy that Kyrgios says that I’m the favorite or I’m going to win the tournament (smiling). I would say he’s one of the favorites, as well. He has the level. I would say he’s more serious, yeah, off the court. I would say he plays unbelievable. Everybody knows that. Yeah, he’s one of the favorites to win the tournament, as well.”
Petra Kvitova saved multiple match points in her comeback over No. 9 seed Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(12-10).
“Actually, I would love to forget the tiebreak.” she said smiling.
“Oh, my God. Yeah, it’s been very tough match today, ” said the Czech. “I actually didn’t expect that tough. I think Garbine played a really great match. I didn’t see her playing like this for a very long time. Especially from our previous matches, she was really showing great tennis today.
“She was serving very, very well, keeping fighting. Same with me. I really had to fight, fight, fight, to, you know, win this match, especially with a break down in the third one. Facing few match points in my serve, and then the tiebreak was just nightmare.
“I’m glad that somehow worked out, and I’m glad, you know, it was a big relief after the match points.”
“I was telling myself, even my coach, like that I have to go for it. That’s my game. I can’t really push it until surrender and playing for safe.”
Muguruza spoke about the chances she missed:
“It was a very tough match. I left everything on the court today. I had my chances. Obviously won match points, was one point away of having another phase right now.
“I’m proud of my fighting spirit. I have had some tough losses this year, but definitely this one makes me feel like my fighting spirit was there, my tennis was there.
“Probably need some extra confidence playing on those match points. Also not playing too many matches, you know, I kind of felt it. I felt that she did a final so she was pretty confident on her serve and on her groundstrokes.
“So, yeah, overall I’m actually happy with what I showed on the court.”
Kvitova will be playing No, 8 seed Jessica Pegula for a quarterfinal spot. The American beat qualifier Yue Yuan 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-0.
“Facing Jessica, I will face Jessica and the crowd, for sure,” Kvitova said. “But on the other hand, I’m really looking forward. I played her a few times, and it was always great match. I think that she is really playing very solid game. Not only here but even whole season she was really going deep in these tournaments.
“It will be nice matchup, for sure, especially here with the crowd. Yeah, I’m looking forward.”
Pegula talked about her third-round match:
“I thought I was playing really well the first set. Then like from 2-All I think I just stepped up my level and had my patterns down.
“Served really well, and then in the third — I think from 1-4 I played really well. I think the tiebreaker I played a little tight because I wanted to close it out, but I also thought she stepped it up.
“From 1-4 I felt really good. Going into the third I was like I feel like I’m winning majority of the games. She only won two games from 1-4 besides the tiebreak. So I felt good going into the tiebreak.
“I just wanted to get on her early to kind of ease the nerves. I could tell she was struggling a little bit physically, as well. I just kind of wanted to get on her quick.”
On playing Kvitova:
“Petra is so hard to play, I feel like when she’s on she blows you off the court and then sometimes she can be off. I think notoriously she’s come back from match point, she’s a fighter. When it clicks, it’s really difficult. And being a lefty as well.
“I think I’m a much better player now than I was when I played her last time.”
Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov played the match of the day going five sets in over four hours. The Russian Rublev, seeded stopped the Canadian 6-4, 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 (10-7).
“Obviously was crazy match,” Rublev said. “Obviously Denis deserve to win as well. As we all know, he deserves to win. Both of us deserve to win. After when you play these kind of matches, there is no winner, in my opinion. Obviously it’s a game, so has to be someone. But both players deserve to win.
“There is no who was better or who was worst. He had maybe a bit more chances than me, especially in the fifth set. In the beginning I had one break point, I couldn’t make it. During the set, two more break points. But I played them really well.
“The rest was nothing, just unreal match. I’m really happy I’m able to win it, even though I couldn’t finish 6-4 when I was serving for the match and having match points.
“Like, I feel even double proud that even after that moment, I was still able to win the match.”
Seventh seed Cameron Norrie seems to be quietly advancing in the draw. The Brit made it past Holger Rune the 28th seed 7-5, 6-4, 6-1.
He’ll face Andrey Rublev on Monday.
“I think I’m going to have to be very proactive and be the one dictating the point as much as I can,” Norrie said of his next opponent. “Obviously there’s going to be times, a lot of times I’m going to have to defend, but I’m going to have to be aggressive and take it to those guys.”
“It’s going to be a big match for me and a tough one.”
No. 22 seed Frances Tiafoe comes back from 2-5 in the first set, saving 5 set points, and from 0-2 in the second to beat No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-4.
“I thought it was a hell of a match,” Tiafoe said. “Especially that first set, one of the craziest sets I’ve played in my career. It had everything in it. Down two breaks, serving again at 6-5, me down 6-3 in the breaker. Unbelievable how I even won the set.”
On playing Nadal in the next round:
“I’m definitely a different player from 2019, playing much better,” he said. “I mean, I’m not going to have that first time playing him, excited to play.
“Now I believe I can beat him. If I end up playing him, I’m definitely going to come after him.”
Tiafoe talked about the biggest challenge in playing Nadal.
“I think for everybody is his intensity. Match his intensity from the first point to the last. You can’t really have any dips. He takes advantage of it.
“How good his forehand is, right? Once he gets ahold of his forehand, it’s tough to get him out of that pattern.
“I’m just going to have to be really aggressive and try to make him play to me, not me play to him.”
No. 19 Danielle Collins of the US stopped Alize Cornet 6-4, 7-6(9). to gain a berth in the sweet 16,
More to follow…