US Open: Thiem Sets up Nadal Clash, Pliskova Books Serena Date

Defending champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday reached the US Open quarterfinals for the eighth time where he will face Dominic Thiem, one of only three men to defeat him in 2018.

World No 1 Nadal saw off a battling Nikoloz Basilashvili, the first Georgian in a fourth round in New York, 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.

“It’s a big victory for me,” said the 32-year-old Nadal, the champion in 2010, 2013 and 2017.

“He was hitting the ball very strong and when I thought I was in control of the points, he always came back with strong shots.”

It was world number 37 Basilashvili’s strength, however, which proved his undoing as his 56 winners were erased by 59 unforced errors, three times as many as Nadal.

Elsewhere, Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, beat Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to make the last-eight for a third successive year.

The third seeded Argentine will next face John Isner, the last American man standing, who defeated Milos Raonic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, taking his tournament aces total past the 100-mark.

Thiem, who beat Nadal on clay in Madrid in the run-up to Paris, booked his place in the quarterfinals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson.

Nadal leads their head-to-head 7-3 with all of their matches coming on clay courts, including in the final of Roland Garros in June when he captured an 11th French Open.

“Thiem is a great opponent, he has the big serve and he had a big win today against Kevin,” said Nadal who has made the last-eight of every Slam in the same year for the first time since 2011.

Meanwhile, six-time champion Serena Williams survived a spirited challenge from unseeded Kaia Kanepi to triumph 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday and reach the quarterfinals.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion booked a quarterfinal date with Karolina Pliskova, the eighth-seeded Czech who beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-4.

Also, defending champion Sloane Stephens, the third seed, eased past Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-3 to book a quarterfinal rematch with Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.

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