New York: World No. 2 Rafael Nadal thrashed Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 to enter the pre-quarters of US Open, on Saturday. His compatriot David Ferrer of Spain beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens are through to a highly anticipated matchup in the round of 16, where they’re joined by a less expected American, Alison Riske.
Ana Ivanovic reached fourth round, defeating Christina McHale 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. She will next face Victoria Azarenka, who lost the first set in 66 minutes before rallying to a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Alize Cornet.
In men’s, Lleyton Hewitt pulled off a stunning five-set win over Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open after a classic late-night thriller between the two former champions on Friday.
Twelve years after he upset Pete Sampras to win the US Open, the 32-year-old Hewitt showed he still has plenty of fight left in him as he floored Del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 in a four-hour slugfest at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Del Potro became the biggest casualty of this year’s championship, leaving the top half of the draw seemingly at the mercy of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who both overcame wobbles to win on Friday.
Speaking about Riske’s match, her run isn’t that much of a surprise considering her recent surge. She’s now achieved all that, her latest breakthrough victory a rout of 2011 Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova on Saturday. Riske won 6-3, 6-0, taking the last eight games against the seventh-seeded Czech.
She was 0-5 at major tournaments before Wimbledon this year but is 5-1 since. Riske just broke into the top 100 in late July; now she’ll likely earn a top-60 ranking.
She has always thrived on grass, making the third round at Wimbledon this year. Now she’s starting to figure out the hard courts. Kvitova, who called for a trainer before the final game, had seven double-faults and 27 unforced errors. She has long struggled at Flushing Meadows, the only major tournament at which she hasn’t made the semi-finals.
Serena advanced, beating 78th-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-1.
Much, much earlier, Stephens reached the round of 16 in New York for the first time by beating 23rd-seeded Jamie Hampton 6-1, 6-3 in another all-American matchup.
Saturday’s session opened with two minor upsets: Simona Halep, seeded 21st, crushed No. 14 Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-0, and Flavia Pennetta beat 27th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1.
Meanwhile, it was end of US Open campaign for Somdev Dev Varman while it was a mixed day for Rohan Bopanna.
Somdev, who had qualified for the singles main draw, battled hard for two hours 40 minutes before losing 6-7 (8), 4-6, 5-7 to Italian 20th seed Andreas Seppi.
Bopanna had sweet-sour day as he advanced in the men’s doubles but suffered a shock first round exit in the mixed doubles along with third seed German partner Julia Goerges. (Agencies)