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‘Feels great to play a full match’: Novak Djokovic reaches US Open quarter-finals as Rafael Nadal bows out

Novak Djokovic steamed into the quarter-finals of the US Open with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory against 84th-ranked Briton Kyle Edmundon Sunday, but Rafael Nadal fell at the last-16 stage after a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 loss to Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, is congratulated by Kyle Edmund, of Britain, after Djokovic defeated Edmund in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday September 5, 2016, in New York. Darron Cummings / AP Photo
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, is congratulated by Kyle Edmund, of Britain, after Djokovic defeated Edmund in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday September 5, 2016, in New York. Darron Cummings / AP Photo

Novak Djokovic steamed into the quarter-finals of the US Open with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory against 84th-ranked Briton Kyle Edmundon Sunday.

Edmund, playing in a grand slam fourth round for the first time, barely got a look-in during the first two sets against the world No 1 and defending champion, who booked a last-eight meeting with ninth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 winner over American Jack Sock.

“Feels great to play a full match after a weird couple of days when I didn’t have too much tennis,” said Djokovic, who received a walkover into the third round when Czech Jiri Vesely pulled out of the tournament injured and played just six games before third-round foe Mikhail Youzhy retired.

Even with the extra rest, however, he required on-court treatment on his right arm, the same arm he had treated during his scrappy first-round victory over Jerzy Janowicz.

Having raced through the first two sets in just over an hour, Djokovic sought treatment after surrendering his first service break of the night, starting a run of three straight games for Edmund that gave the Briton a 3-2 lead.

Djokovic put the set back on serve with a break for 3-3, and broke Edmund at love to close out the match.

Even after the tighter third set, Djokovic was pleased with his night’s work.

“I came out of the blocks with high intensity which was hard after waiting all day to start the match,” he said. “I made him work for every point.”

Rafael Nadal vows to keep trying to find right formula

Rafael Nadal said he was sad to have squandered an opportunity to do something special at the US Open with his fourth-round loss at Flushing Meadows, but happy with his effort and prospects going forward this season.

“I fight until the end,” Nadal said about his 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 loss to 22-year-old Frenchman Lucas Pouille on Sunday. “There were things I could do better. I had the right attitude. I fought right up to the last ball.

“But I need something else, I need something more that was not there today. I going to keep working to try to find.”

Nadal came back from more than two months of inaction due to a wrist injury that forced him out of the French Open and Wimbledon to compete last month at the Rio Olympics and won gold in doubles with Marc Lopez, and reached the singles semi-finals.

While he reports continued improvement in his left wrist, the 30-year-old Spaniard knows he still has a ways to go.

“Is true that I don’t have lot of matches on my shoulders for the last three, four months, but even like this I lost an opportunity,” Nadal said.

“I lost an opportunity to have a very good event here. I am sad for that.

“I need to keep improving the level of tennis to be back where I was before the injury.”

Nadal said that although the grand slam season is over, he still has goals.

“I have the motivation to keep working,” he said. “I needed to serve better in some moments. I needed to create more pain on the opponent with my shots. That was something that I didn’t make today.

“I have a few months to finish the season, to try to be qualified for the World Tour Finals. That will be a good effort, if I make that happen after two months and a half without competition. I going to fight for it.

“My wrist is improving a lot. I say that looks like the injury is at the end of the process. I am ready to keep playing. That’s what my body is asking me now.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsongs knocks extinguishes last American hope

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the second successive year on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 victory over American Jack Sock.

The ninth seed from France fired 54 winners to oust 26th-seeded Sock, the lone remaining US man in the field.

In match pitting two players with fearsome forehands, Tsonga boasted the deadlier precision, although Sock didn’t go quietly, saving a match point in the third-set tiebreaker to force the deciding fourth set.

Once he had, however, 2008 Australian Open runner-up Tsonga reasserted himself, powering to a 5-2, 40-0 lead.

The Frenchman had a little hiccup with a double fault before belting an unreturnable serve to close it out.

“It was really difficult because he played great in the third, but I have no regrets about this set because he played well,” Tsonga said. “I just tried to play my game in the fourth.”

Angelique Kerber closes in on top spot

Angelique Kerber won a battle of grand slam champions when the second seed powered her way into the quarter-finals of the US Open on Sunday with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Petra Kvitova.

By reaching the last eight Kerber has put herself in position to end Serena Williams’s long reign as world No 1.

Williams, bidding for a record seventh US Open title, will now need to reach the final to have a chance of retaining top spot.

The fourth-round match had a definite grand slam pedigree to it with Kerber, the Australian Open champion, going against twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova but failed to deliver any major excitement.

To be fair, Kerber and 14th-seeded Kvitova were handed a tough act to follow with the capacity Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd left buzzing about Frenchman Lucas Pouille’s upset win over Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller that had an hour earlier closed out the day session.

Kerber was in command from the start, winning all the big points on way to taking the opening set.

Kvitova, the Rio Olympic bronze medallist, offered more resistance in the second before meekly surrendering with a double fault on match point to gift Kerber a place in the quarter-finals.

Kerber’s victory set up an intriguing last eight clash with Italy’s Roberta Vinci, last year’s surprise runner-up advancing with a 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

Comeback queens Caroline Wozniacki and Anastasija Sevastova set up quarter-final clash

Caroline Wozniacki, derailed this year by an ankle injury which sent her career into a tailspin, and Anastasija Sevastova, who quit the sport three years ago, set up a US Open quarter-final duel Sunday.

Former world No 1 Wozniacki, the runner-up here in 2009 and 2014, downed American eighth seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4 to make the last-eight in New York for a fifth time.

Sevastova became the first Latvian woman in 22 years to reach a grand slam quarter-final when she beat British 13th seed Johanna Konta 6-4, 7-5.

The other quarter-final in the bottom half of the draw sees German second seed Angelique Kerber face Roberta Vinci, the Italian seventh seed.

Kerber defeated Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 while Vinci enjoyed a 7-6, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.

Now ranked at 74 in the world after a right ankle injury sidelined her for almost three months, Wozniacki hit just seven unforced errors in her win over Keys.

Wozniacki is back in the last-eight of a major for the first time since making the semi-finals in New York in 2014.

“After such a tough year, it’s amazing to be in the quarter-finals,” said the 26-year-old Dane whose grand slam record this year had seen first-round losses in Australia and Wimbledon while she sat out Roland Garros.

Sevastova, the 26-year-old world number 48, knocked out French Open champion and third seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round and she built on that victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium in a last-16 tie which featured 12 breaks of serve.

Larisa Savchenko was the last Latvian woman to make the quarter-finals of a slam at Wimbledon in 1994.

RESULTS

Results from the seventh day of the 2016 US Open at Flushing Meadows on Sunday (x denotes seeded player):

Men’s fourth round:

• Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 6-2, 6-1, 6-4

• Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x9) bt Jack Sock (USA x26) 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2

• Lucas Pouille (FRA x24) bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6)

• Gael Monfils (FRA x10) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3

Women’s fourth round:

• Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Madison Keys (USA x8) 6-3, 6-4

• Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x13) 6-4, 7-5

• Roberta Vinci (ITA x7) bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

• Angelique Kerber (GER x2) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x14) 6-3, 7-5

Updated: September 5, 2016 04:00 AM

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