Nadal concentrated on Rublev, as Federer semi looms
Rafael Nadal is paying no attention to the prospect of a blockbuster US Open semi-final with Roger Federer as he prepares to face Andrey Rublev in the last eight.
Nadal produced his best performance of this year's tournament at Flushing Meadows on Monday as he comprehensibly brushed aside Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets.
The top seed grew in confidence throughout his 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory and produced some sublime tennis in a dominant final set.
His win sets up a quarter-final with Rublev - who stunned ninth seed David Goffin on Monday - and keeps him on course to meet Federer in the final four, but winning the next match is all that concerns Nadal.
"You can ask me about that in two days if I am here with a victory," Nadal told a media conference when asked about a potential Federer meeting.
"I will be very happy to be in that semi-final if that happens.
"But now I have Rublev in front [of me]. Maximum respect to him and it is going to be a tough one. He has already played great matches, winning against [Grigor] Dimitrov, against [David] Goffin in straight sets.
"It is not a moment to talk about Federer for me."
Reflecting on the triumph over Dolgopolov - his 50th at the US Open - Nadal was happy with an increase of composure to his game after stuttering starts to his previous two matches.
"I feel that compared to other days, I feel more calm on court," he added. "It is true that I was able to have the break earlier, but really I felt more comfortable from since the beginning.
"The most important thing is [that there were] more times I had control 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.
"And that's very good news. The previous round had been a step forward for me and today another one. So I'm playing a little bit better every day.
"And I am in quarter-finals against a tough opponent now. I need to be ready to keep fighting and play better than today, and that's my goal. I'm going to try to have the best practice possible tomorrow and try to be ready for it."