Third seed Rafael Nadal of Spain overcame a first set tiebreaker loss to cruise through the next three sets and beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in the U.S. Open fourth round.
Although Monfils, seeded number 13, on Tuesday had the faster serve — his fastest being 131 mph (211 kph) compared to Nadal’s 119 mph (192 kph) — he also double-faulted four times, while Nadal had none. Nadal, the six-time Grand Slam winner and reigning Australian Open champion, has been coming off a two-month lay-off due to knee tendinitis, a break that kept him from defending his 2008 Wimbledon crown. He advances to a quarter-final matchup against 11th seed Chilean Fernando Gonzales, who earlier upset seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. In another fourth-round upset, second seed and last year’s runner-up Andy Murray lost in straight sets to Croatian 16th seed Marin Cilic. Briton Murray, who was seeded to face holder Roger Federer in a repeat of last year’s Flushing Meadows final, looked lackluster throughout the match as Cilic comfortably reached his first grand slam quarterfinal with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory in two hours and eight minutes.
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Cilic will now face Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro for a place in the semifinals, after the sixth seed secured a comfortable 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Spanish 24th seed Juan Carlos Ferrero. “I played very well and Andy was missing a lot,” Cilic told reporters. “I don’t think he was playing his best. It feels amazing to reach the quarters,” added the 20-year-old, who is the youngest player in the world’s top 20. Murray had beaten Cilic in their three prior meetings, most recently in the fourth round of this year’s French Open, but looked off-form from the start.
The Briton had come back from two sets to love down at the same stage of last year’s tournament to beat Austrian Jurgen Melzer en route to his first grand slam final. But he only won four games out of the last 18 to slump out on his favorite hard-court surface.