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.

When you have had as much success as Serena Williams has enjoyed, it is impossible to remember every win.

As such, it was not too much of a surprise that, as Williams celebrated her 100th US Open triumph, she conceded to having no recollection of her first.

Williams brought up her century in devastating fashion at Arthur Ashe Stadium, storming to a 6-1 6-0 victory over Wang Qiang in just 44 minutes.

Asked about whether she thinks back to her first win at her home slam, Williams replied at a media conference: "Gosh, first? I don't remember what the first one was. What was the first?"

Informed it was against Nicole Pratt of Australia, she said: "What? Wow, I do not remember that at all.

"[It does] not ring a bell at all. I wouldn't have guessed that. I remember playing her in Australia."

Then told it was a three-set match, Williams added: "It was three sets here? It was three sets in Australia. I remember that. Gosh.

"Venus will remember, though. She remembers everything. She will definitely remember."

Next up for Williams is a semi-final with Elina Svitolina, against whom she has won all but one meeting.

Svitolina beat Williams in their most recent encounter, in the third round of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, though the American joked she has also blocked that match from her memory.

Williams said: "That was a tough Olympics for me. Lost in doubles for the first time. Just really devastated about that doubles loss. Then obviously singles shortly after.

"I didn't play the Olympics in Rio."

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."

Serena Williams powered into the last four of the US Open with a crushing straight-sets quarter-final win over Wang Qiang that marked her 100th at Flushing Meadows.

Wang produced one of the shocks of the tournament in the fourth round as she stunned second seed Ashleigh Barty to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

However, the Chinese's dream run to the last eight ended in nightmare fashion as Williams allayed any concerns over an ankle she rolled in her victory over Petra Martic with a devastating performance.

Her 6-1 6-0 success was wrapped up in only 44 minutes and underlined her status as tournament favourite in the wake of the exit of defending champion Naomi Osaka, as well as those of Barty and third seed Karolina Pliskova.

Williams will next face Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals, and on this evidence the Ukrainian will need to produce the performance of her life to deny the American a place in her 33rd grand slam singles final.

Any possibility of Wang claiming the biggest win of her career was brutally extinguished by Williams as she started the first set by winning three games in just eight minutes.

She ripped a cross-court forehand at the net to get the opening break and Williams continued to illustrate the sizeable gap in quality in a set that saw Wang win only seven points on her own serve.

Wang was able to get on the board but Williams wrapped up the first with a thunderous ace, and kept her foot firmly on the gas in a second that somehow managed to be even more one-sided.

As Williams motored towards a bagel, Wang cut an increasingly disconsolate figure and the match was brought to a merciful end inside three quarters of an hour when the 37-year-old crunched home her 24th winner.

"It's really unbelievable, literally, from when I first started here I never thought I would get to 100," Williams told ESPN of her achievement. "It didn't even cross my mind that I would still be out here."

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Serena Williams [8] bt Wang Qiang [18] 6-1 6-0

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Williams – 24/10
Wang – 0/13

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Williams – 1/1
Wang – 0/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Williams – 5/5
Wang – 0/0

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Williams – 62
Wang – 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Williams – 90/62
Wang – 17/42

TOTAL POINTS
Williams – 49
Wang – 15

Elina Svitolina expects a big challenge in the semi-finals of the US Open regardless of whether she faces Serena Williams or not.

Svitolina progressed to her second successive grand slam semi with a straight-sets win over Johanna Konta at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian has enjoyed a very successful major season having also reached the last four of Wimbledon and the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

She will next face the winner of six-time US Open champion Williams' clash with Wang Qiang.

Williams will be the heavy favourite but Svitolina insists she expects the task of making the final to be just as difficult if it is Wang who prevails.

Asked about the prospect of facing Williams, Svitolina told a media conference: "Definitely it's a big challenge to play against her.

"I mean, [it] doesn't really matter who I'm going to play in semi-final. It's a challenge.

"A person who reaches the semi-final is playing well. You have to bring your best game to beat them. Doesn't matter who is going to be in the semi-final.

"But obviously Serena is an amazing champion. It's going to be really tough against her."

Svitolina has not faced Williams since earning her only win over the American in the third round of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Recalling that match, she said: "It was an unbelievable atmosphere. I played actually a great match. I was very young. Not very young, but I was kind of young at the time. I didn't have big wins at that time.

"For me, it gave me lots of confidence, as well, because I was playing really good sometimes. It gave me the confidence to actually let me believe that I can play consistent against the top players.

"She gave me opportunities, for sure, in that match, and I actually took them and won the match. It was a very special moment."

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

Elina Svitolina progressed to the US Open semi-finals for the first time after extending her unbeaten record over Johanna Konta with a 6-4 6-4 win.

In a match of two remarkably similar sets inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Svitolina came out on top to improve her career record against Konta to 5-0 and, in the process, become the first Ukrainian woman to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows.

The fifth seed – who also made the last four at Wimbledon this year – did drop her serve twice but was otherwise impressive in a contest that spanned one hour and 40 minutes.

Both players were cautious in the early stages before the contest sparked into life with a run of three successive service breaks from the fifth game onwards.

Svitolina grabbed the first of them courtesy of a backhand that was too much for her opponent to deal with, only to then let the advantage slip immediately.

However, Konta paid the price for two backhand errors, allowing Svitolina to edge ahead once again at 4-3.

This time she did not let her rival rally, fighting hard to save a break point in the eighth game. A Konta hold forced Svitolina to serve out for the opener, a task she duly achieved when converting her second set point.

The second set followed the same pattern as the first, the duo once again holding for the first four games before a trio of breaks.

As before, Svitolina moved 4-3 up and, while unable to take two match-point opportunities that arrived on Konta's serve, she sealed the victory at the third attempt on her own serve.

Next up will either be Serena Williams or Wang Qiang, who meet later on Tuesday in their last-eight tie.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Elina Svitolina [5] bt Johanna Konta [16] 6-4 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Svitolina - 16/13
Konta – 24/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Svitolina – 4/0
Konta – 3/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Svitolina – 4/8
Konta – 2/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Svitolina - 57
Konta - 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Svitolina - 62/60
Konta – 59/48

TOTAL POINTS
Svitolina - 71
Konta - 62

Naomi Osaka saw her US Open title defence ended on Monday, as defeats for two home hopes left Serena Williams as the last remaining American.

Osaka had looked in tremendous form in her third-round win over Coco Gauff, when few would have bet against her in the fourth round against Belinda Bencic at Flushing Meadows.

However, the Japanese star – who will be deposed as world number one by Ashleigh Barty following the grand slam – was beaten by Bencic for the third time this year.

Meanwhile, the incredible runs of Taylor Townsend and Kristie Ahn were stopped by Bianca Andreescu and Elise Mertens respectively, with Williams the sole hope for home singles glory as she chases a record-equalling 24th major.

 

BENCIC SCORES OSAKA HAT-TRICK

Bencic went into her match with Osaka having defeated her at Indian Wells and Madrid, and completed the hat-trick with a 7-5 6-4 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Prior to going on court, Swiss 13th seed Bencic did not appreciate the difference in the significance of the occasion, but conceded it hit her after the match.

"Before the match, I didn't think it was different [to her two previous wins over Osaka]. After the match, it definitely felt different," she told a media conference. 

"I just came with the same mentality like I played her before and just really focused on the game and not about the hype or the occasion, the stadium and the round.

"After the match, it feels definitely different. It feels like this was the most important one."

 

GOERGES NO MATCH FOR VEKIC MOMENTUM

Donna Vekic was match point down against Julia Goerges but produced a remarkable fightback to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

The Croatian 23rd seed came through 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3 in two hours, 43 minutes and knew she had the edge after saving the match.

"I think I definitely had the momentum on my side after second set," she said. "I knew she was going to be thinking about her match point.

"I'm happy that I could break her and then serve it out."


ANDREESCU SILENCES HOME CROWD

Townsend's career has been revitalised by her performance in New York, coming through qualifying before beating Wimbledon champion Simona Halep en route to the fourth round.

However, Townsend finally ran out of steam against Andreescu – the 19-year-old willing her way to a 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory to extend her best performance at a major into the last eight.

Andreescu did so in front of a vociferous home crowd that was predictably pro-Townsend, and admitted it was difficult to tune out the supporters who stayed around late into the New York night.

"It wasn't easy but I heard some Canadian fans, which is nice in tougher moments," said Andreescu. "I tried not to pay attention to that but it's hard when it's everyone. I'm glad with how I managed to keep my cool.

Ahn, who defeated former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, hit 25 unforced errors in slumping to a 6-1 6-1 loss to 25th seed Mertens.

The wildcard will break into the top 100 on the back of her exploits, though, and said of her ascension: "It's crazy. It's not like all encompassing euphoric as you think it will be.

"Maybe it's because in years past I've hyped it up so much. Right now, like, it feels good. At the same time it's like I want more versus I think in 2017 I would have, like, thrown a party for making top 100."

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

Belinda Bencic's previous experience as a top-10 player gave her belief she could ascend the rankings of the sport again after seeing her career derailed by injury.

Bencic reached the last eight of the US Open on Monday as he produced a magnificent display to beat defending champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 6-4.

The Swiss was ranked seventh in the world in 2016, but a succession of injury problems saw her drop to 312th by the time she returned in September 2017.

However, Bencic has worked her way back into the world's top 20 and now plays good friend Donna Vekic for a place in the semi-finals.

Asked about her experiences between her previous Flushing Meadows quarter-final in 2014 and her straight-sets defeat of Osaka, Bencic told a media conference: "Yeah, it's been a long way since then [2014], for sure.

"People always think I'm a little bit older than I actually am, because I've been here since 16, 17. I think definitely it was a good time. I learned so many things. I think everyone expected [me] to go just up. That's not how tennis goes.

"I think all true athletes have to overcome obstacles, injuries, just tough times. I think it made me a stronger person, better player.

"Of course, there were times when you're injured you wonder if you can play at this level again. Then I also believed if I'm going to get back and healthy, I can play on this level, because I proved it so many times. It was just about being consistent and if it was going to be enough.

"I think it helps when the belief is there, when you know you can be top 10. So when you have been there, you know that your way is working. So I think that helped me a lot through these injuries."

Asked about her improvement in New York, Bencic added: "I think just generally I think the mental part is just really important.

"In these top-50 players, everyone can play very good tennis, so it's not about who can hit a better backhand or who can hit a better forehand.

"I think it's definitely about the mentality, how you go to the court, how you approach, if you have fear or if you're playing freely."

In Vekic, Bencic will be playing an opponent who has endured similar struggles, having won her first WTA title at the age of 17 but then finding grand slam success difficult to come by.

"I think it means a lot, because she was also very good [at] 16, 17 won her first WTA title," Bencic said of Vekic. "Then it was, you know, the pressure and some injuries, some difficult times.

"Now we're both back. It feels very nice. I'm very happy for her. But definitely I want to win. But still I think it will be great that one of us will be in semi-final."

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