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Rafael Nadal cruises into fourth round at U.S. Open

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Sept 3, 2022; Flushing, NY, USA;  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after beating Richard Gasquet of France on day six of the 2022 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain won in straight sets while No. 9 Andrey Rublev of Russia needed more than four hours to advance during third-round action Saturday at the U.S. Open in New York.

Nadal defeated France’s Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 in a crisp two hours and 17 minutes to advance into the fourth round. By comparison, Rublev rallied for a 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (7) victory over No. 19 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in four hours and 10 minutes.

Third-seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz made easy work of his opponent, defeating American Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Nadal won despite fighting his serve. He recorded eight double faults and got just 59 percent of his first serves in. But he delivered 35 winners against 23 unforced errors compared to 19 winners and 29 unforced errors for Gasquet.

The win was Nadal’s 18th straight against Gasquet.

“My best match in the tournament,” Nadal said. “But I need to keep going. It’s a good victory for me. Straight sets for the first time. … I went through some difficult moments. That’s something that is good, that I went through that and (was) safe (in those) moments with positive feelings. Happy to be in the fourth round, without a doubt.”

Rublev overcame 23 aces and 76 winners by Shapovalov. The Canadian also hit 72 unforced errors. Rublev, meanwhile, converted 74.2 percent of his first serves into points and recorded 38 winners against 37 unforced errors.

Rublev rebounded from squandering three match points at 5-4 in the fifth and final set to advance.

“Obviously it was a crazy match. Obviously Denis deserved to win as well, as we all know,” Rublev said. “Both of us deserved to win. (After) you play these kinds of matches, there is no winner, in my opinion.”

In other action, No. 22 Frances Tiafoe of the United States upended No. 14 Diego Schwartzmann 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-4 of Argentina to advance. Seventh-seeded Cameron Norrie of Great Britain beat Denmark’s No. 28 seed Holger Rune 7-5, 6-4, 6-1, and Belarusian Ilya Ivashka ousted No. 26 Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. No. 15 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia needed three hours and 59 minutes to defeat No. 20 Daniel Evans of Great Britain 7-6 (11), 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-5.

–Field Level Media