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Almagro Holds Off Sock; Cilic Beats Nishikori

New York, U.S.A.

Almagro© Getty ImagesNicolas Almagro is through to the fourth round in New York for the first time.

World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro finished strongly to defeat American Jack Sock 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-1 on Saturday in the third round of the US Open. The Spaniard saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced and broke Sock on three occasions as he ripped through the fourth set in 27 minutes.

The 19-year-old Sock, winner of the US Open boys’ singles title in 2010, was contesting the third round of a major for the first time. "I feel good about my game, my physicality and overall professionalism and mental [state]," said Sock, who is at a career-high World No. 243 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. "Everything in my game, how I'm hitting the ball, everything feels better now and definitely closer to the next level."

The 27-year-old Almagro is through to the fourth round in New York for the first time in eight attempts. He has been to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros three times – his best Grand Slam result. The Murcia native, a winner of two ATP World Tour clay-court titles this season, improved to a 52-16 match record.

Almagro goes onto face sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, who overcame No. 27 seed Sam Querrey 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Berdych saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced, while breaking the American six times to defeat Querrey for the second straight tournament, following victory in the Winston-Salem Open semi-finals.

Berdych is through to the fourth round for the first time since 2007. The Czech is 6-3 versus Almagro, winning two of their three hard-court meetings, most recently at this year's Australian Open. He is bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time on his 10th appearance.

Marin Cilic, the 12th seed from Croatia, secured his place in the fourth round after battling past Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3. The 23-year-old Cilic had reached the third round with back-to-back five-set victories and has spent a total of 11 hours and 10 minutes on court to reach the last 16.

Cilic, who came into New York on the back of a quarter-final showing at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Djokovic), was a quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2009, falling to eventual champion Juan Martin del Potro.

Cilic next will face World No. 52 Martin Klizan. The 23-year-old Slovak backed up his shock second-round win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga by ousting another Frenchman, No. 32 seed Jeremy Chardy, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes. The left-hander had won only eight tour-level matches all season coming into the US Open and had never before been past the second round of a major.

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