Robin Soderling, who reached his first Grand Slam final at the French Open three months ago, continued his impressive summer here yesterday when he became the first man to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open. The big-hitting world No 12 was leading Nikolay Davydenko 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 when the Russian retired with what he described as a muscle problem in his left thigh.
In the last eight Soderling will play the winner of last night's meeting between Roger Federer and Tommy Robredo. Federer beat Soderling in the final of the French Open, where the Swede produced the most stunning result of the year, beating Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, in the fourth round.
Kim Clijsters is playing only her third tournament since beginning her comeback but is only two wins away from playing in the final here. After beating Venus Williams 6-0, 0-6, 6-4 on Sunday night she plays China's Li Na in the quarter-finals.
Williams, the world No 3, presented Clijsters with her toughest test since making her return after retiring in 2007 to start a family. A see-saw match ended with the 26-year-old Belgian almost losing her nerve in the final game. Serving for the match at 5-4, Clijsters admitted she was shaking as she won four points from 15-40 down to take the match.
"My arm felt like 50 pounds or more," Clijsters said afterwards. "But I told myself: 'Look, don't give it away like that. Try to play aggressive tennis and let her come up with a good shot to win it'."
She added: "It was such a weird match. After I lost the second set 6-0 I was just like: 'OK, just start over and fight for every point.' It's still kind of hard to believe, but then again I'm trying not to get carried away with it all. I'm just trying to focus on what I have to do because the tournament's still going."
Kateryna Bondarenko, of Ukraine, reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final when she humiliated Argentina's Gisela Dulko, winning the first match in Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday 6-0, 6-0.
Bondarenko, who had matched her previous best performance by reaching the fourth round, made only six unforced errors and won in just 47 minutes. She now plays the winner of last night's tie between Petra Kvitova and Yanina Wickmayer.
Dulko knocked out Bondarenko's sister, Alona, in the second round. "I just got some messages to get revenge for my sister, so I started to think about it when I read the messages," Bondarenko said afterwards. "I'm surprised it's 6-0 6-0, and I'm really happy that it went that way."