Clinical Nadal crushes Dolgopolov for 50th victory at US Open

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Rafael Nadal remains on course for a mouth-watering clash with Roger Federer at the US Open after easing past Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets - his 50th triumph at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal has won a 10th French Open title, reached the Australian Open final and recaptured the number-one ranking in a stunning return to form in 2017, and a third crown in New York could also be on the cards after Monday's 6-2 6-4 6-1 win.

Any questions that had been raised after stuttering starts to his early matches here were swiftly answered on Arthur Ashe Stadium as Nadal enjoyed his most comfortable outing so far.

Dolgopolov was immediately under pressure as he double faulted on the opening point and it did not take Nadal long to seize the advantage two games later, showing immaculate touch with a drop shot that his opponent could only loop long.

On serve, Nadal was imperious and as the encounter wore on the top seed grew in confidence, his trademark whipped forehands drawing coos of satisfaction from the crowd.

After half an hour, Nadal was a set ahead and quickly applied more pressure on the unseeded Dolgopolov - who began to wilt in the lengthier baseline rallies.

Dolgopolov was a game opponent at the start of the second set, taking Nadal to 4-4 before the Spaniard found more gears to move through, capitalising on two netted forehands by his opponent to secure the crucial break and holding to love with an ace capping the second set.

Any hopes Dolgopolov had of pulling off a mighty comeback were quickly extinguished when he mixed a delightful drop shot with more unforced errors to give Nadal an immediate break in the third set, before Nadal picked out the corner with a fearsome forehand on his way to a 3-0 lead.

Holds to love and 15 put Nadal within sight of the finish line, with Dolgopolov showing late fight to wipe out four match points before a fifth proved too much to overturn.

A meeting with Andrey Rublev awaits after the 19-year-old became the youngest US Open quarter-finalist since 2001 with a 7-5 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over ninth seed David Goffin.

"I'm just going to enjoy it," Rublev said on facing Nadal. "It's the quarter-finals and I have nothing to lose."

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Nadal [1] bt Dolgopolov 6-2 6-4 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal - 23/11
Dolgopolov - 25/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal - 4/2
Dolgopolov - 7/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal - 6/13
Dolgopolov - 0/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal - 70
Dolgopolov - 59

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal - 82/79
Dolgopolov - 65/43

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal - 89
Dolgopolov - 60