Gael Monfils may have been knocked out of the US Open, but his 2019 experience at Flushing Meadows is not over.

The Frenchman missed out on his second semi-final in New York, losing a gruelling five-set battle with Matteo Berrettini that went nearly four hours.

For most players, Wednesday's defeat would be a blow from which they would take a long time to recover.

At 33, however, Monfils has a healthy sense of perspective, and expressed his excitement at being able to cheer on girlfriend Elina Svitolina in her semi-final clash with Serena Williams on Thursday.

"I'm not a sore loser. I gave it my all today. I served bad, but I gave my heart," Monfils told a post-match media conference.

"The crowd was amazing. They pushed me. They helped me. It was fun. It was exactly what I play for.

"I wish I could win, but I love those matches no matter what. You know, I'm proud of myself, and, you know, I will be happy, I will be happy to cheer for my girlfriend tomorrow.

"Definitely if it can be one more day here, I'm on it."

In terms of how he can refocus on the court for the remainder of the season after the 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) defeat, Monfils believes he can draw on the experience of his 2014 quarter-final loss to Roger Federer at Flushing Meadows, when he had two match points against the Swiss legend.

"I've had tough ones in my career like that. Actually I have a tough one here in match point with Roger," he added.

"I know how to bounce back. Actually I played very good after that quarter that I lost in 2014 with Roger.

"I've got to take the positives of this almost two weeks and, you know, keep working hard and get back for the Asia swing."

Matteo Berrettini secured a place in his first grand slam semi-final as he came through a near four-hour epic to beat Gael Monfils 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) at the US Open.

Tennis has regularly been compared to boxing, with Andy Murray among those to draw that particular parallel. In the world of the sweet science, they say styles make fights, and there could hardly have been a greater contrast of approaches on show at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

The world's biggest tennis stadium bore witness to a classic between Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday and another followed in short order as power puncher Berrettini outgunned Monfils, who, in typically flamboyant fashion, ducked and weaved his way to a fifth-set tie-break, saving four match points, only to fall short under the weight of the relentless blows coming from the Italian.

Berrettini – whose previous best performance at a grand slam came at Wimbledon when he reached the fourth round – will now face either 18-time major winner Rafael Nadal or Diego Schwartzman in the last eight.

Thoughts of a semi-final with Nadal must have been the furthest thing from Berrettini's mind when he dropped the first set in just over half an hour.

Monfils did not face a break point in the opener and appeared in control when he broke early in the second, only to hand the break back with an error-strewn service game that ended with a volley into the net.

Berrettini and Monfils then each saved three break points to hold serve before the latter then cracked under more pressure from Berrettini, who struck for a 5-3 lead and sealed the second with an ace.

He carried the momentum into the third and secured an early break and withstood pressure from Monfils, sending down a ferocious ace to earn a crucial hold in the sixth game.

The roof on Ashe was then closed as rain began to fall, but the stoppage did not hinder Berrettini, who claimed the double break as a forehand down the line left Monfils stranded.

Noise levels grew on the court and in the stands as Monfils scrapped to keep his hopes of a second US Open semi-final alive in the fourth, breaking for a 3-1 lead after Berrettini struck the net cord and set him up for a simple forehand.

Monfils only had to save one break point to keep his nose in front and send it to a decider, in which holding serve became an increasingly complicated task.

There were two breaks in the first three games of the fifth but Berrettini nudged ahead 4-2 when Monfils fell 0-40 down and then drifted long.

A double-fault on match point set the tone for a frantic conclusion, Monfils then ripping a wonderful crosscourt forehand and cupping his ear to the crowd as he hit back.

Berrettini produced a stunningly precise lob to help him set up the first of two further match points, but the 33-year-old's stamina and character got him through to the tie-break.

However, Berrettini built a 5-2 lead thanks in no small part to more double faults from Monfils, and the deficit proved too much to overcome as he went long on a return and the 23-year-old sank to the ground in celebration.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Matteo Berrettini [24] bt Gael Monfils [13] 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Berrettini – 53/64
Monfils – 41/51

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Berrettini – 15/6
Monfils – 10/17

BREAK POINTS WON
Berrettini – 6/17
Monfils – 5/15

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Berrettini – 54
Monfils – 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Berrettini – 69/55
Monfils – 71/45

TOTAL POINTS
Berrettini – 165
Monfils – 159

"I don't have a crystal ball, do you?"

Roger Federer was terse when asked if he felt he would have more opportunities to win grand slams like the one he just let slip at the US Open, with Novak Djokovic out of the draw and the Swiss having a clear path to a potential final with Rafael Nadal.

He is right, of course. He does not have a crystal ball and neither does anyone else. However, he certainly could have used one ahead of Tuesday's match with Grigor Dimitrov, as even the most confident of fortune tellers could not have envisaged what the Bulgarian produced at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Dimitrov stands as one of a growing number of once highly regarded ATP Tour players who have been unable to live up to their potential. So lofty was the opinion of Dimitrov's considerable talents, that he was once nicknamed 'Baby Fed'.

There have been considerable highs in Dimitrov's frenetic career that justified his reputation. His 2014 Wimbledon quarter-final win over then-defending champion Andy Murray was a supremely accomplished performance against an opponent playing with the vociferous backing of the home crowd.

His 2017 run to the Australian Open semi-finals was another strong hint at a breakthrough but it again appeared to be a false dawn, and there was nothing going into the last eight at Flushing Meadows to suggest he would be able to topple Federer.

Federer had won their previous seven meetings and had looked imperious in swatting Daniel Evans and David Goffin in the third and fourth rounds, while Dimitrov was playing in his first Tour-level quarter-final since January.

Even with Dimitrov having played extremely well to win the second set, there were few inside Ashe who expected it to be little more than a blip in the five-time champion's progression to the last four, with that assessment seemingly set to be vindicated when he took the third.

Yet, as Federer later said, this was "Grigor's moment", and he made sure of that in a tremendous fourth-set performance encompassing everything that had once led to him being considered the heir to Federer's throne.

There was power, variety, excellent movement and there were passing shots, oh so many passing shots, continually thundered beyond an ailing Federer off the forehand and backhand sides.

Federer insisted he was not surprised by Dimitrov's performance.

"It's the Grigor I expected. He has returned against me in the past also a little bit further back. He has been in, chipped, come over. He has the arsenal to do all sorts of things. He used it all tonight to great effect," said the 38-year-old.

That opinion is probably only shared by Dimitrov, as the sense of shock inside the world's biggest tennis stadium was palpable as the 28-year-old wore Federer down to the extent that he had to take a medical time-out for a back injury at the end of the fourth set.

Dimitrov displayed incredible character and endurance in doing so. Service games on both sides played out as mini-dramas within a fascinating thrill ride, with the Bulgarian's desire to make Federer play as many balls as possible paying dividends in the seventh game of the fourth. 

Federer held after a game that featured eight deuces and in which he had to save seven break points. Dimitrov may have been unable to get the double break, but he knew the damage had been done.

He said: "I think even when I lost that game, I was actually smiling going through the changeover because I was [thinking], 'That game must have hurt him a lot.' For me, it actually filled me up.

"After that fourth set, I felt also he kind of needed a little bit of a break, as well. I kept on pushing through. I think in the first game in the fifth, I put so many returns back, pretty much all the returns, so he had to go. He wanted to keep the points really short. I used every single opportunity I had."

That was the difference between the Dimitrov of old and the one that stunned a hugely pro-Federer crowd, perceptiveness and patience. He knew his opponent was struggling, he knew he did not have to swing for the fences. He did not have to go for the kill, because he knew the kill would come to him.

It came in rapid fashion in the fifth set as Dimitrov secured a 3-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 triumph that will go down as one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. It was a result virtually nobody expected from the world number 78 but, regardless of what he does from here in New York, Dimitrov's shock defeat of Federer will make sure nobody doubts his ability to deliver on the grand slam stage again.

Roger Federer does not have "the crystal ball" to see how many more chances he will have to add to his grand slam tally after missing a major opportunity at the US Open.

With Novak Djokovic having exited in the fourth round, Federer looked to have a clear path through to a potential blockbuster final with Rafael Nadal.

However, he fell victim to an incredible fightback from Grigor Dimitrov in Tuesday's quarter-final, the world number 78 coming from two sets to one down to prevail in three hours and 12 minutes.

The defeat was marked by a back problem that saw Federer leave the court for treatment in the fourth set.

He returned for the fifth but never looked capable of stopping Dimitrov from marching into his third slam semi-final.

Federer has demonstrated remarkable longevity to still be competing for majors at 38 years of age. However, he conceded he let a chance go begging at Flushing Meadows this year.

"I'm disappointed it's over because I did feel like I was actually playing really well after a couple of rocky starts," Federer told a media conference.

"It's just a missed opportunity to some extent that you're in the lead, you can get through, you have two days off after. It was looking good.

"But [I've] got to take the losses. They're part of the game. Looking forward to family time and all that stuff, so... Life's all right."

Asked if he will have more opportunities to win majors, he replied: "I don't have the crystal ball. Do you?

"I hope so, of course. I think still it's been a positive season. Disappointing now, but I'll get back up, I'll be all right."

After the rains of Labor Day at Flushing Meadows, Tuesday saw the heat turned up on and off the court on day nine of the US Open.

As the mercury rose to leave spectators either basking in the sun or seeking shade, there were some scorching displays in the quarter-finals of the men's and women's singles.

Serena Williams needed only 44 minutes to see off Wang Qiang and reach the last four, while Grigor Dimitrov and Roger Federer thrilled the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with an epic that ended with the 20-time grand slam champion being knocked out by the man once known as 'Baby Fed'.

Omnisport's man on the ground, Nicholas McGee, provides the details in our daily diary from New York.

 

EVERYBODY'S FREE (TO WEAR SUNSCREEN)

Forgetting your sunscreen in the hot weather is a nightmare scenario everyone wants to avoid.

But it's not big deal if it slips the minds of spectators at Flushing Meadows, as the US Open have them covered.

Forgot yours? No matter. There's plenty of free bottles to go around to make sure you'll tan, not burn.

NOT MUCH EXCITEMENT FOR NAVARRO

Number one seed in the girls' singles, Emma Navarro lost her second-round match on Grandstand to Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia.

As a New Yorker who reached the final of the French Open and the semi-finals of Wimbledon, a more passionate crowd might have been expected to watch the 18-year-old.

However, the heat was clearly too much for one fan, who spent the contest lounging in the shade under the big screen.

THE MAN OF A THOUSAND VOICES

Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Professor Frink, they all have one thing in common. They were all voiced by Hank Azaria.

The Simpsons star was inside Arthur Ashe Stadium to take in Daniil Medvedev's four-set win over Stan Wawrinka.

As an actor with such great range, Azaria must have been impressed with the variety Medvedev demonstrated en route to a place in the last four.

SVITOLINA GOES 360

Elina Svitolina reached the semi-finals on Tuesday by seeing off Johanna Konta.

Svitolina's partner Gael Monfils could progress to the same stage of the men's singles on Wednesday, when the Frenchman will take on Matteo Berrettini.

Monfils attracted significant attention earlier in the tournament with his 360 smash on match point against Marius Copil.

Svitolina was asked about the possibility of her attempting one and, judging by her answer, it is highly unlikely the Ukrainian will be trying it against Williams.

"I have been practicing, as well," Svitolina said. "Actually this morning I did it. Not as good, though. I turn and then I hit."

Grigor Dimitrov knew he had hurt Roger Federer during the fourth set and was delighted with the progression of his game plan even after missing a chance to break during their US Open thriller.

Dimitrov pulled off one of the most incredible shocks in recent grand slam history as he came from two sets to one down to defeat Federer and progress to the semi-finals.

Federer left the court for treatment on his back at the end of a fourth set won by Dimitrov, which featured a mammoth seventh game in which the Bulgarian had seven break points.

There were eight deuces in the game and, though Federer clung on to hold serve, Dimitrov felt it helped him achieve his goal of wearing down the 38-year-old. 

"I was very happy even though I lost the game. I did exactly what I wanted to do," Dimitrov told a media conference.

"I didn't know to what extent his injury was or whatever was bothering him. But I think even when I lost that game, I was actually smiling going through the changeover because I was [thinking] 'that game must have hurt him a lot'. For me, it actually filled me up."

He added: "I tried to use that negative sort of situation into my positive. After that fourth set, I felt also he kind of needed a little bit of a break, as well. I kept on pushing through.

"The first game in the fifth, I put so many returns back, pretty much all the returns, so he had to go. He wanted to keep the points really short. I used every single opportunity I had."

Asked when he realised Federer was in trouble, Dimitrov replied: "Obviously I started seeing in the fifth. Even if I would have gone two sets to love down, I wouldn't have given up.

"I would still stay on the court and just try to do as much as possible to make sure that I rattle him or put him off balance.

"I kept on pushing, I kept on believing. I was hitting I think very good shots, playing good tennis. That got me through the line."

Dimitrov had lost all seven of his previous meetings with Federer prior to his 3-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 success at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I was more present, to be honest," Dimitrov said. "I was more of myself throughout every point, every game that I played. In the past, it's always been very hard to play against him. He always came out pretty fiery, made an early break.

"I felt very comfortable from the first point, despite the fact that I was missing a little bit here and there. I had a few opportunities. I kept on believing in what I had to do, in my game plan. I was moving really well. I was hitting my backhand pretty good, changing up the shots.

"One of the only things for me was try to keep him as much as possible on the court. I did that very well."

Roger Federer was keen to put the focus on Grigor Dimitrov's achievement in beating him in five sets to reach the US Open semi-finals, rather than the injury that hindered the 20-time grand slam champion in the deciding set.

Federer looked to be on course for a semi-final with Daniil Medvedev when he led by two sets to one at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday.

However, Dimitrov produced one of the most unexpected fightbacks in grand slam history to prevail in a magnificent contest that should live long in the memory.

The fifth set was, in the end, very one-sided as Federer – who left the court at the end of the fourth for treatment on his back – was unable to summon any kind of resistance.

It was Dimitrov who came through a test of endurance that lasted three hours, 12 minutes, winning 3-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 and reaching his third grand slam semi-final.

Federer, though, refused to place too much importance on his back issue, telling a media conference: "I just needed some treatment on my upper – what is it – back, neck.

"Just needed to try to loosen it up, crack it and see if it was going to be better.

"But this is Grigor's moment and not my body's moment, so... it's okay."

Asked when he sensed there was trouble in the match, he replied: "When you're down you feel worse. Had moments that I was in the lead most of the time. Had a chance to come back in the fourth.

"Start of the fourth wasn't ideal. Start of the fifth wasn't ideal. That was running behind. That was tough."

Federer revealed the back problem arose earlier on Tuesday but said: "I was able to play. It's okay. It's how it goes. I tried my best. By far not too bad to give up or anything.

"Grigor was able to put me away. I fought with what I had. That's it. So it's okay."

The 38-year-old had never lost to Dimitrov in seven meetings prior to their Flushing Meadows clash, and insisted he was not surprised by anything the Bulgarian threw at him.

"It's the Grigor I expected," he added. "He has returned against me in the past also a little bit further back. He has been in, chipped, come over. He has the arsenal to do all sorts of things. He used it all to great effect."

Grigor Dimitrov came from two sets to one down to claim the most memorable win of his career and end Roger Federer's hopes of a 21st grand slam title in the US Open quarter-finals.

Once nicknamed 'Baby Fed', Dimitrov has failed to live up to the significant promise he displayed earlier in his career, unable to build on his run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2014.

He reached the same stage at the Australian Open in 2017 but has since found success at grand slams hard to come by, and his progression to the last eight at Flushing Meadows marked his first tour-level quarter-final for eight months.

The world number 78 was viewed as likely to be overmatched by the 38-year-old Federer, who had breezed through the first four rounds of a draw that defending champion Novak Djokovic tumbled out of in the last 16.

However, after Federer took the first set, Dimitrov displayed incredible character and unleashed the full repertoire of strokes that led to the comparisons with the Swiss legend.

When he squared the match to effectively turn it into a three-set contest, it was the Bulgarian who had the greater endurance, Federer taking a medical timeout at the end of the fourth set. 

Federer was never the same player after he re-emerged for the decider and Dimitrov took control of the fifth to complete a 3-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 triumph in three hours, 12 minutes and book a fascinating semi-final with an ailing Daniil Medvedev.

Daniil Medvedev expected his thigh injury to cost him his US Open quarter-final with Stan Wawrinka but is now confident it will be okay for the last four with a quirk of the schedule allowing him extra rest.

Medvedev called for the trainer in the first set as he battled an issue with his left thigh, yet that did not prevent him from claiming a superb four-set win at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The world number five will face either Roger Federer or Grigor Dimitrov in the semis but will have two days to recover for Friday's clash.

That is a boost Medvedev did not expect to enjoy, having effectively resigned himself to elimination from the tournament in the opening set.

"First two sets, I didn't have any emotions because in my mind, I'm losing the match because of my leg," Medvedev told a media conference.

"I'm either going to retire or come back to the locker room in one hour as the loser of the match.

"Then when it was like 5-3 in the second, I was like, okay, now I'm starting to get stressed because I'm close to being 2-0 up in the sets. I'm definitely not going to retire when it's 2-0 up for me.

"I am still really painful in my leg. I knew I have to play without rhythm. Some games I have to not run to relax my leg. I was hitting full power, then suddenly I was doing drop shots in the middle.

"I knew I should not give him any rhythm. In crucial moments maybe it will make him miss. That's what has worked.

"Of course, I would prefer to win in a normal way with a normal tennis game, but that's how I won. Hopefully physically I will feel better normally, yes."

On his now very valuable time off, Medvedev added: "I'm feeling really lucky about it because I didn't know this before the match or during the match.

"As soon as I went out of the court, somebody told me that, 'Now, you have two days'. I was like, 'Really?'

"I didn't know. I thought it was going to be normal, one day off, you go to play. That's a huge advantage regarding what happened to my leg.

"I think, as I say, I don't want to say anything yet, but I think it should be okay."

Daniil Medvedev battled through a thigh injury to reach the semi-finals of the US Open with an absorbing 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 3-6 6-1 win over Stan Wawrinka.

Russian fifth seed Medvedev has been consistently booed by the crowds at Flushing Meadows after appearing to give a middle-finger gesture to the fans during his third-round victory against Feliciano Lopez.

Medvedev has thrived in his role of tournament villain and was jeered again upon entering Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on Tuesday.

However, after his exploits against Wawrinka, Medvedev is deserving of more admirers than dissenters and he was treated to a warm ovation as he knocked out Novak Djokovic's conqueror.

His performance while fighting an issue with his left thigh, on which he received considerable strapping in the first set, was one of craft, intelligence and considerable grit.

Medvedev was full value for his victory and will now have three days to nurse his thigh before meeting Roger Federer or Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final.

He struck for the first break of serve in the opening game of the match and it was not until Wawrinka produced a tremendous forehand to bring up three break-back points that parity was restored.

Both players then held from 0-30 down to set up a captivating tie-break dictated by Medvedev, moving Wawrinka round the court with a combination of drop shots that barely edged over the net and backhand lobs that sent the Swiss scampering back to the baseline.

Wawrinka, however, won four straight points from 5-2 down to bring up set point but he failed to take it and handed Medvedev the opener when a return went long.

The 2016 champion then ballooned a forehand long to give Medvedev a break for a 3-1 lead in the second.

Despite being obviously hindered by his thigh, Medvedev did not face a break point in the second, his ploy of focusing his energy on his own service games rather than Wawrinka's paying dividends. 

However, he was immediately under pressure in the third, as a pair of double faults handed the chance for Wawrinka to take a 2-0 lead that he snaffled instantly.

Even with his injury, Medvedev showed remarkable character. In a mammoth ninth game, Wawrinka spurned a set point with a dreadful forehand unforced error and saw another go begging as Medvedev forced him to save four break points before a return into the net halved the deficit.

However, Wawrinka's first service game of the fourth was a disappointing one and Medvedev took full advantage, breaking to love as his 34-year-old opponent netted a backhand volley.

From there all the momentum was with Medvedev and he refused to let it slip, wrapping up a hugely impressive display in fitting fashion with a perfectly placed lob.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Daniil Medvedev [5] bt Stan Wawrinka [23] 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 3-6 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev – 36/36
Wawrinka – 38/38

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev – 11/12
Wawrinka – 10/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev – 4/8
Wawrinka – 2/8

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Medvedev – 60
Wawrinka – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Medvedev – 73/58
Wawrinka – 78/38

TOTAL POINTS
Medvedev – 126
Wawrinka – 114

The start of the second week at the US Open was marked by the return of the rain, but it did not dampen anyone's spirits at Flushing Meadows.

Play on the outside courts was severely delayed as competitors endured a long wait for the weather to clear.

However, the rain was welcomed by one player, who progressed into the last eight with a stunning win.

Omnisport's man on the ground, Nicholas McGee, provides the details in our daily diary from New York.

 

RAIN, RAIN HOORAY?

While the inclement weather was certainly not welcomed by fans, or by players not lucky enough to be playing on show courts, Belinda Bencic was thrilled to see the heavens open.

Bencic knocked out defending champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 6-4 under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Swiss said the indoor feel provided by playing with the roof closed was a significant factor in her being able to get the better of the world number one.

"I wished it was going to rain, so it rained," Bencic joked at her media conference. "Obviously I wouldn't have any problem playing outdoors as well because the big stadiums are almost indoors. I played on the outside courts, and it's just so different.

"Obviously I prefer playing indoors. I don't know why. It just feels more comfortable and good for me. But definitely such a big stadium and so close, it feels almost as indoors."

 

'MCCOCO' RUN COMES TO AN END

Caty McNally and Coco Gauff have each enjoyed a memorable US Open. McNally took a set off Serena Williams in the second round while 15-year-old Gauff was the story of the first week with her run to the third round and touching on-court joint interview with Osaka after defeat to the Japanese.

The pair also lit up Louis Armstrong with their second-round doubles win over Kveta Peschke and Nicole Melichar on Sunday, but saw their run ended in emphatic fashion by Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty.

Azarenka and Barty prevailed 6-0 6-1 in just 48 minutes, marking the first defeat for McNally and Gauff as a doubles pairing after winning 22 consecutive sets.

Though the Flushing Meadows experience is over for McNally and Gauff for this year, they intend to keep playing doubles when they can.

"This is only our third tournament together. We play so well together. There's no reason why we would stop," McNally said. "I'm really looking forward to playing with her again. Hopefully our tournament schedules work out soon. Whenever we play the same tournament, we'll play."

Long live McCoco.

 

WHAT'S WEST OF WESTEROS? (GAME OF THRONES SPOILER AHEAD)

That was the question posed by Maisie Williams' character Arya Stark as she set sail for a new adventure at the end of the epic fantasy series.

Judging by Williams' appearance in Queens today, the answer may be Flushing Meadows.

Williams was one of a raft of famous faces in attendance on Monday. Rafael Nadal had Tiger Woods out of his seat on multiple occasions, while Alec Baldwin and Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons also took in his win over Marin Cilic.

Whether it was on or off the court, there was star power everywhere you looked on day eight.

Rafael Nadal hopes he and "amazing inspiration" Tiger Woods will be able to play golf and tennis together after getting the 15-time major champion out of his seat and fist pumping during a US Open fourth-round win over Marin Cilic.

Nadal progressed to the quarter-finals with a four-set victory over Cilic at Flushing Meadows on Monday, and delighted the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with a series of sublime shots in the third and fourth sets.

It was the penultimate point of the match, though, that had Woods celebrating as if he had added to his major tally as Nadal incredibly bent a forehand around the net post to bring up two match points.

The Spaniard spoke about Woods during his on-court interview and later in the post-match media conference he divulged further on his affection for the American, who capped a remarkable comeback from injury to win the Masters in April.

Asked if he saw some of Woods' reactions during the match, Nadal replied: "No, I didn't. I was playing tennis. But good, no? It means a lot to me to have him supporting.

"He's an amazing inspiration, all the things that he [has] accomplished in the sport, the way that he managed to keep fighting that hard.

"[He has] always been an example on the golf course, a real inspiration for me.

"[To] have him supporting and [to] be able to be in touch with him very often is something that I am super happy [for] and I hope one day we can play golf and tennis together."

Nadal will face Diego Schwartzman in the last eight after the 20th seed came from a set down to eliminate sixth seed Alexander Zverev, a result that came as no surprise to the 18-time grand slam champion.

"He is one of the most talented players on our Tour. He has everything, amazing control, amazing speed," Nadal said of Schwartzman. "He has the ability to read very well your shots and to understand very well the game. [It] is not a surprise he is there.

"I know people think that Zverev was favourite before that match. Honestly for me, today, Schwartzman was favourite.

"Schwartzman, I saw him play a couple of matches during this tournament, he was playing great. Sascha played two matches, two or three matches close. Physical issues always I think. The other arrived fresh and playing amazing.

"Sascha fought hard as always. He is going to be a grand slam champion soon I think.

"But today Diego played unbelievable. I need to play my best in the next round to have the chance to be in the semi-finals."

Rafael Nadal moved into the US Open quarter-finals as Alexander Zverev again fell short on Monday.

Nadal dropped his first set of the tournament before proving too good for 2014 champion Marin Cilic in New York.

The Spanish great will be hard to stop in the bottom half of the draw, with Zverev again unable to make the most of a chance at a major.

 

NADAL GETS THE JOB DONE

Nadal faced his toughest test yet before overcoming Cilic 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2 after two hours, 48 minutes.

The 18-time grand slam champion is well-placed to reach his fifth decider at Flushing Meadows after running away from Cilic.

Nadal hit 37 winners and 26 unforced errors, breaking Cilic six times in another impressive display.

ZVEREV FALLS BEFORE QUARTERS AGAIN

Zverev's wait for a true breakthrough at a grand slam goes on after a 3-6 6-2 6-4 6-3 loss to Diego Schwartzman, who will face Nadal.

The German has made just two major quarter-finals – at the French Open in 2018 and 2019 – and suffered his second fourth-round loss at a major this year.

Zverev played five-setters in the opening two rounds and was pushed to four in the third.

"I had some things that were bothering me because of the fall I had two days ago," he told a news conference after his loss. "I couldn't practice freely yesterday. Warm-up was tough today. My right hip and my back is very swollen because of the fall.

"But other than that, fatigue... obviously it was very tough matches, but I feel fine."

 

MONFILS, BERRETTINI SET UP SURPRISE QUARTER-FINAL

Gael Monfils needed just 86 minutes to thrash Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-2 6-2 and reach his fourth US Open quarter-final.

The 2016 semi-finalist is 2-6 in last-eight clashes at majors, but has a huge opportunity against 23-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini.

"I play great tennis here, very great tennis. I always say that I love the atmosphere. I love the energy. The energy is very important," Monfils said.

"Every stadium I go, definitely those stadium here in New York are one of the best for my game and for my personality.

"I feel very comfortable, so I think that's why I play always great tennis here."

Berrettini moved into his first grand slam quarter-final thanks to a surprise 6-1 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Andrey Rublev.

Rafael Nadal recovered from a second-set blip to progress to the quarter-finals of the US Open in style with victory over Marin Cilic.

Nadal needed to play just two matches to reach the fourth round and won each of them in straight sets, with Cilic presenting his first real challenge of the tournament.

However, Nadal's hugely impressive reaction after dropping the second set was that of a player still somehow operating at the peak of his incredible physical powers.

Cilic faded rapidly following a supreme third set from Nadal, who secured a 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2 triumph in two hours, 48 minutes, booking a quarter-final with Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal began a run of three successive breaks in the fourth game, the key blow coming two games later as a superb flicked forehand gave him the initiative once more after Cilic had struck back.

Cilic fired wide on the return to give the Spaniard the opening set but the Croatian was a different animal in the second, pairing his unwavering ambition with accurate groundstrokes and deftness at the net.

He broke for a 3-1 lead as Nadal looped a mishit backhand long, an error that proved enough for Cilic to become the first player to take a set off the 18-time grand slam champion in the tournament.

Cilic's squaring of the match only served to fuel Nadal, however, and the world number two broke in the fourth game of the third in astonishing fashion.

Nadal twice attempted to lob Cilic and, after the Croatian met the second with a desperate smash, unleashed a cross-court backhand to bring up three break points, with the 2014 champion double-faulting on the first.

Another double fault gave Nadal a chance for the double break, which he took emphatically with a scintillating forehand down the line that had him jumping for joy in celebration.

The set was secured as Cilic went long on a return and it was clear the end was nigh when he sent down another double fault in the opening game of the fourth.

Cilic was eventually able to stem a run of nine successive Nadal games to avoid a bagel, but he was powerless to stop the three-time US Open winner taking another step towards a prospective final with Roger Federer, providing one final flourish with a glorious forehand around the net post in the decisive game.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [2] bt Marin Cilic [22] 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 37/26
Cilic – 33/40

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 11/6
Cilic – 10/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/11
Cilic – 2/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal – 57
Cilic – 66

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal – 83/48
Cilic – 59/46

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal – 109
Cilic – 86

Alexander Zverev was unable to pull off another five-set victory at the US Open as an error-strewn performance condemned him to a fourth-round loss to Diego Schwartzman marked by an umpiring controversy.

Zverev won the first set at Arthur Ashe Stadium in straightforward fashion but fell victim to a tremendous comeback from Schwartzman, who progressed to his second quarter-final in three years at Flushing Meadows.

Schwartzman came through 3-6 6-2 6-4 6-3 in over three hours, demonstrating devastating power off both wings and great touch at the net in a superb showing.

By contrast, Zverev's display was well below the standard that has seen him become established as one of the best young talents on the ATP Tour.

The 22-year-old has yet to make the breakthrough most expect of him, and his defeat on Monday owed to 65 unforced errors and 17 double faults.

Zverev was also docked a point that cost him the seventh game of the fourth set, allowing Schwartzman to go up 5-2, after being assessed a second code violation, the German left furious having claimed he did not hear the first.

Schwartzman wrapped up the win with a rasping forehand and will play either Rafael Nadal or Marin Cilic next.

On the prospect of playing Nadal, he told ESPN: "He's my friend, it's always great to play against him in quarter-finals of grand slams."

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