Rafael Nadal was ruthless with Richard Gasquet who on Saturday beat 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 in 2:17 in the third round of the United States Open, inflicting on the Frenchman the 18th defeat in as many comparisons between the two Players.
“The nose is a bit bigger than usual, but that’s okay”, began the Spaniard who in the second round had hit himself with a racket in the face.
“The night sessions in New York are the most beautiful in the world. I have raised my level of play and it is important to progress game after game, ”said Nadal, who scored 35 winning shots against 23 unforced errors.
The Spaniard, 3rd in the world, then continues his way towards a 5th title in New York that would allow him to bring his record of Grand Slam titles to 23. We will have to start by expelling the American Frances Tiafoe (26th) in the second round.
In front of almost 24,000 spectators, in a night session at the Arthur-Ashe field, Nadal imposed a showdown on Gasquet (91st) from the beginning of the match, not hesitating to play on the French’s backhand, yet his shot is strong.
But Gasquet could not resist and gradually collapsed, losing the first nine games of the match.
Symbolically, it was on a direct backhand foul that offered Nadal the first set.
At 6-0, 3-0, Gasquet, supported by the public who felt in trouble, ended up winning his first game, raising his arms in cross to the ovation of the audience. But he made too many unforced errors (29), and was too delicate with his serve (7 double faults in total and 57% first serve) to worry Nadal who quietly won the next five games bringing two sets to zero. and detaching 2-0 in the third.
Gasquet recovered, managing to take his opponent’s serve, and in the end held up against the 36-year-old Majorcan until the latter managed to make the decisive break, taking him to 6-5 and serving for the victory.
Gasquet, also 36, reached the bottom four at Flushing Meadows in 2013 but hasn’t made it through round three since 2018.
The two players have known each other since they were 12. But on the main circuit Nadal has always clearly dominated Gasquet: in total they played 47 sets and the Frenchman won only 4, the last in 2008.
Alcaraz also passes without problems
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 4th in the world, took only 2:11 to beat American Jenson Brooksby (43rd) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, confirming himself as a serious contender for the title.
“I played very, very well. At a high level ”, analyzed Alcaraz who in the round of 16 will face the Croatian Marin Cilic (17th and winner in 2014). The latter beat Britain’s Daniel Evans (23rd) 7-6 (11), 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-5.
Last year and for his first appearance, Alcaraz reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament in New York for the first time. This year, at 19, he returns to the role of one of the main contenders for the title, especially since he repeated a quarter of Major, in the spring at Roland-Garros.
Having dominated Brooksby in the first two innings, Alcaraz lost twice in a row at the start of the third inning, finding themselves 3-0 behind, but kept calm and played six games in a row to open the door to second week.
Tiafoe gets rid of Schwartzman
American Frances Tiafoe struggled against world number 16 Diego Schwartzman, but still managed a three-set win of 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 3:02.
Tiafoe has recorded eight stoppages, against six for his Argentine opponent.
Tiafoe reached the round of 16 for the third consecutive year. However, he will be looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in his career at the US Open. In 2021, his career was cut short by a four-set defeat to Félix Auger-Aliassime.
He could be facing a heavy order, while Rafael Nadal could be on the way, if he has Frenchman Richard Gasquet on Saturday night. Nadal won both duels between the two men and lost no sets.
Ivashka surprises Musetti and will face Sinner
World number 30 Lorenzo Musetti suffered a surprise defeat against Ilya Ivashka, 73rd in the ATP rankings. Ivashka won in four sets of 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 and 6-2.
Ivashka converted all seven break points she won in 2:46 of play.
The surprise journey of Ivashka continues in the second round, he who in the second round had also beaten the eighth seeded Hubert Hurkacz. In her first match of the tournament, Ivashka defeated American Sam Querrey.
Ivashka will face 11th-seeded Jannik Sinner in the next round, who defeated Brandon Nakashima in four sets 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.
After losing the first set to Nakashima, in 69th place in the world, Sinner recovered by winning the next three sets and prevailing in 2:59.
It will be a first duel between Ivashka and Sinner.
Norrie remains perfect
Britain’s Cameron Norrie remained unstoppable at the US Open with a three-set 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 win over Denmark’s Holger Rune in the third round.
Norrie, the seventh seeded of the tournament, took 2 hours and 12 minutes of play to defeat the 33rd player in the world. In three games since the start of the tournament, Norrie hasn’t lost a set.
The Briton has only been on the pitch for 6 hours and 17 minutes from the start of the tournament.
In the next round Norrie has an appointment with the Russian Andrey Rublev, who defeated Denis Shapovalov after a long fight of over four hours. Norrie and Rublev crossed swords twice and both won a duel.
Norrie will be looking to earn her ticket to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time in her career.
Reaching the round of 16, it is already the best result of his career at the United States Open.