Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have never met at the US Open, but the Swiss and the Spaniard are now just one win each away from a mouth-watering quarter-final showdown for the ages.
If Federer beats Tommy Robredo and Nadal finds a way past Philipp Kohlschreiber in their fourth-round matches today, the two great rivals will have their 32nd career meeting in the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Both men are in excellent form and have yet to drop a set. Federer needed just 81 minutes to sweep aside France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 in his third-round match, while Nadal took his record on hard courts this year to 18 wins from 18 when he beat Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Federer, who has beaten Robredo in all 10 of their meetings, said he would not focus on Nadal until he wins his next match, but added: “Clearly, I think we both hope it’s going to happen this time for the first time in New York.”
Nadal has not been broken in his opening three matches, but the world No 2 said his serve was an area where he was seeking improvement.
“I didn’t feel I was serving great,” Nadal said after beating Dodig. “I served OK, not bad. In important moments I did a few good serves, but I am winning because I am playing well from the baseline and I am making the right decisions.”
Tomas Berdych, who is a potential quarter-final opponent for Andy Murray, is also through to the last 16 courtesy of three successive straight-sets wins.
The Czech, who lost to Murray in last year’s semi-finals, raced into the last 16 with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 demolition of France’s Julien Benneteau.
In the fourth round he will play Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6.