We are going to witness a rematch of this year’s French Open Final as US Open quarterfinals has Rafael Nadal all pumped up.
Nadal beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 on Sunday at Flushing Meadows. Next up is No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem.
Thiem beat Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2), denying the fifth-seeded South African a second shot at Nadal. Nadal beat Anderson last year for his third US Open title.
Nadal and Thiem will be joined in the quarterfinals by John Isner, who used a booming serve to beat Milos Raonic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Isner, seeded 11th, also defeated Raonic at Wimbledon on the way to a semifinals appearance. His best finish in a Grand Slam. Isner is known for his marathon matches and played another long one in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“The crowd just kept me in it,” Isner said. “This atmosphere is like a jungle. It was amazing.”
He improved to 5-1 lifetime against Raonic. Raonic needed treatment on his back after the fourth set.
The 33-year-old Isner is the tournament leader in aces and was nailing them against Raonic with 140 mph serves. Next up for Isner is 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who beat No. 20 Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday night and has won all 12 sets he has played at Flushing Meadows in 2018.
The top-ranked Nadal captured his 11th title in Paris by beating Thiem in straight sets in June. That was part of what’s now a 26-1 run since Thiem beat him in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open in May.
“He’s a very powerful player, and yeah, he knows how to play these kinds of matches. Yeah, I need to play my best match of the tournament if I want to keep having chances to stay in the tournament.” Said Nadal.
Nadal leads the series 7-3, with all the meetings on clay.
On Sunday, he responded to losing the third-set tiebreaker by breaking Basilashvili twice in the fourth set.
“Of course it’s disappointing,” Anderson said. “I wanted to be here right until the end and put myself in contention of winning my first major. It wasn’t meant to be.”
He had won six of seven meetings against Thiem, including all six on hard courts. Thiem’s only victory came on clay, his best surface.
But Anderson couldn’t get anything going in this match-up with Thiem, who won 41 of 45 points (91 percent) and never faced a break point.
“First of all, I served really, really well today,” Thiem said. “Not the best percentage, but I almost made every point in the first serve game. So I didn’t face one break point, and I didn’t feel so much pressure on service games.”
Thiem reached his first quarterfinal at any Grand Slam besides the French Open. He was agonizingly close to getting there last year at the US Open, leading by two sets against del Potro in the round of 16 before the 2009 champion roared back to win.
“It was not on my mind, but I was pretty close last year,” Thiem said. “It was very painful.”