Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev US Open QF Live Stream: Nadal out to halt teenager Rublev's sensational run
After producing his best performance of the tournament to take down Alexander Dolgopolov in the fourth round, Rafael Nadal looks to keep the momentum going when he takes on Russian teenager, Andrey Rublev in the quarter finals on Wednesday.
Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev US Open tennis is live from New York on Wednesday, 6 September from 1:30pm local time/ 6:30pm BST Watch and bet on tennis live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Nadal had endured a couple of tough losses at the US Open over the last few seasons- he surrendered a two-set lead against Fabio Fognini in the third round in 2015, and lost a final set tie break against Lucas Pouille in 2016. Hence, a fourth round meeting with the dangerous Dolgopolov, who had beaten Nadal twice in the past, was never a forgone conclusion. However, Nadal rose to the challenge, and was rarely trouble in a 6-2 6-4 6-1 dispatch of the Ukrainian.
The Spaniard had begun the tournament on a shaky note, needing to come from a set down to get past Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer in the second and third rounds, but he found his game from the start against Dolgopolov, racing to victory in just an hour and 41 minutes.
There was hardly anything that didn’t work for Nadal, including an admittedly below par Dolgopolov. Nadal served supremely well, winning 82% of his first serve points and a staggering 79% of points on his second deliveries, while hitting 28 winners against just 11 unforced errors.
The one passage of play when he encountered any genuine resistance was in the second set, when Dolgopolov raised his game and matched Nadal for the first eight games, but the Spaniard’s greater match toughness shone through towards the end of the set, breaking in the ninth game off couple of Dolgopolov errors, before serving out a two-set lead with minimum of fuss. There was no coming back from Dolgopolov, and the broken Ukrainian predictably fell away badly in the third set.
Competing in his first US Open quarter final since winning the title in 2013, Nadal is not only bidding to regain the title, but also to hold on to the world number one ranking post-US Open. Nadal could potentially take on great rival Roger Federer in the semi-finals in what would be a first ever meeting between the pair at Flushing Meadows, and a straight shootout for the number one ranking.
There are still a couple of matches to get through before that eventuality- Nadal must halt the sensational run of Rublev, while Federer has the more difficult task, on paper at least, of taking down the mighty-hitting former champion, Juan Martin del Potro in the other quarter final in the top half.
"Every victory, every set that you win is more confidence". Nadal said after the match against Dolgopolov. "That what's I am doing. I am fighting when the things are not going that well and trying to keep going when the things starts to go the way that I want.
And I am in quarterfinals against a tough opponent now. I need to be ready to keep fighting and play better than today, and that's my goal and I gonna try to have the best practice possible tomorrow and try to be ready for it."
Rublev is one of a young band of talented Russian players coming through, but his Grand Slam breakthrough has come perhaps earlier than expected. The 19-year-old only broke into the top 50 in July after winning his first career title in Umag- he had entered the tournament as a lucky loser, and had won just five ATP main draw matches before that. Rublev had not gone beyond the second round of any Slam in his four previous attempts, and had only ever played one main draw match at the US open- an opening round defeat to Kevin Anderson in 2015.
Apart from Umag and the US Open, his only other noteworthy run this season was a quarter final run in Halle, where he defeated Albert Ramos Vinolas and Mikhail Youzhny before falling to Khachanov. After a lean first half of the season, Rublev has obviously got better in the second half of the season, and is now playing the best tennis of his fledgling career at Flushing Meadows.
Rublev opened his campaign with a 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory over Aljaz Bedene, before scoring a hugely impressive 7-5 7-6 6-3 victory over Cincinnati champion, Grigor Dimitrov. The teenager took out Damir Dzumhur in four sets in the third round, and followed it up with a 7-5 7-6 6-3 win over an ailing David Goffin in the Round of 16. Goffin was not at his best physically, but Rublev still had a job to do, and he was good enough to come through a tight match. The Russian scored the solitary break in the twelfth game of the first set to take the opener, but Goffin responded by breaking twice at the start of the second set. However, Rublev refused to go away he recovered both breaks before going on to clinch the set on a tie break. The third set was a more straightforward affair, with the Russian breaking to open and finish the set. Rublev cracked 48 winners for the match, including 12 aces and 21 winners on his favourite forehand (backhand isn’t bad, but not as lethal!).
Rublev will blast a fair few more forehands past Nadal in their first meeting on Wednesday, but with the Spaniard relentlessly working his opponent’s backhand in his own inimitable style, it is unlikely that Rublev gets as many looks at a forehand as he would get against anyone else.
The Russian can take encouragement from how fellow teenager, Denis Shapovalov defeated Nadal in Montreal just a few weeks back, and he will take the game to the great man- that’s how he plays anyway. However, to stay aggressive and controlled at the same time over the best of five sets against Nadal is a difficult ask. Never one to take anyone for granted, Nadal would have done his homework on his opponent, and fueled by his solid showing against Dolgopolov, expect Nadal to come out firing on Wednesday to impose himself on Rublev, quickly putting the Russian in his place before the dangerous teenager gets his eye in.
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