US Open

US Open: The US Open is enough to get even Tiger Woods out of his place. There are days when Rafael Nadal looks like a tidal wave on a tennis court, drowning opponents with relentless pressure in both attack and defense. And then there are days when a Spaniard needs to dig deep and raise his level even higher, relying on his signature crumb to get through. The fourth round match on Monday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium was an example of the latter.

But the good thing for the three-time US Open champion is that it led to victory, as Nadal fought for the 2014 title, Marina Silich 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, to reach the quarter finals in New York for the ninth time. The 40-fold major quarter-finalist finished the match in style. At 30/30 in the last game, Nadal chased the ball far beyond the double lane on the right side, scattering the ball around the goalpost and right inside the winner’s court, making a loud roar when the whole crowd jumped towards him. legs, including golf superstar Tiger Woods, Nadal’s friend.

“It’s easy to describe, but hard to do. I don’t know, I think I watched the ball well, because it had a good salvo, and I saw it, I quickly ran to the ball, and I saw that at the last moment there might be a small space on this side “said Nadal on the court after the match.” I think that was the only way to get this point. I hit him well, but to get to this place, you need luck. “

Nadal, with the retirement of Novak Djokovic on Sunday evening during his own match in the fourth round, will increase his leadership at the ATP Race To London with every victory at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as he continues to pursue his fifth year ending World No. 1 finish.

The 33-year-old athlete completed at least a quarter final in nine consecutive Grand Slam tournaments and three consecutive trips to the US Open. Nadal will then meet with Argentine Diego Schwartzman, against whom he won all seven of his FedEx ATP Head2Head matches.

Diego plays incredibly, said Nadal. – I need to prove my best in the next round in order to have a chance to get to the semifinals. But today’s match, I think, helps. Nadal was not as dominant as he when he went into the fourth round without throwing a set. And a big merit in this belongs to Cilic for the fact that he played an amazing second set.

“For some moments in the second set, I felt that he had too many points in his hands,” Nadal said. “He pushed me and played more aggressively than me. I was coming back, and he had the right determination to go to court. ”

After the southpaw came out of the gate, shooting at all cylinders, breaking the lead with a score of 3: 1 in the initial set, Kilik again earned a break. Nadal really broke in the very next game, with this decisive advantage, but seed number 22 showed that he did not allow Nadal’s train to roll over him.

Kilik beat 3-1 in the second set with good defense on the right side, putting the 83-fold title level of the tour in an awkward position to cause an error. From there, five years after his title in New York, Kilik gave the crowd memories, firing in both directions and from behind, in order to try to break the walls of Nadal.

But these walls were quite high. Nadal has won 12 of his last 15 games to win in two hours and 49 minutes. In his 61st victory at the US Open, Nadal overwhelmed 38 winners with only 26 inadvertent errors. After the second set, I had to make a change, or I ended up in his hands, ”said Nadal. – I began to return the second serve in court. and that gave me a different point of view in points. “

Nadal retained his usual position of returning the first serve deep in court, and he forced Cilic to play ball after ball after the revision returns to the game. Although the Croat joined the 33 winners – and by no means played an unsuccessful match – Kilic was unable to maintain sufficient consistency in his aggression.

It is so unusual to see that this amazing crowd supports [me]. As I said before the start of the tournament, I always had a great connection with the crowd here in New York. They are very energetic, very passionate, ”Nadal said. “Similarly, you return to the hotel with a lot of energy, because I really enjoyed playing in front of the crowd. “Arthur Ashe Stadium here in New York, the night session, it’s hard to be better.