Nadal Blasts Past Dolgopolov
Spaniard chasing third US Open crown
Victory marked Nadal's 50th win at Flushing Meadows, where he won two of his 15 Grand Slam championships in 2010 (d. Djokovic) and 2013 (d. Djokovic). He also reached the final in 2011 (l. to Djokovic).
"I think I played a solid match, not many mistakes," said Nadal. "I feel that compared to other days, I feel more calm on court. Is true that I was able to have the break earlier, but really I felt more comfortable from the beginning.
"The most important thing is [the amount of] times I had the control of the time of the point. Not many balls surprised me. I didn't hit a lot of balls earlier than what I thought or later than what I thought, something that happened in the first couple of days. That's very good news. Because when that happens it is, of course, a step forward for me and today another one. So I'm playing a little bit better every day.
"Now I have a tough opponent, Rublev, next round, and I need to continue to play well."
The 31-year-old Nadal is looking to win his second major title of what has been an incredible season for the Spaniard, who is back to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after starting 2017 at No. 9.
The left-hander captured ‘La Decima’ at Roland Garros, defeating Stan Wawrinka in the final, finished runner-up to Federer at the Australian Open, and won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns in Monte-Carlo (d. Ramos-Vinolas) and Madrid (d. Thiem).
Monday’s display marked Nadal’s cleanest performance of the tournament, after four-set wins over Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer in his past two matches. He had lost two of his past three matches against Dolgopolov, but made light work of the Ukrainian, hitting 23 winners to just 11 unforced errors and winning 82 per cent of points behind his first serve.