NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal stayed on course for a possible U.S. Open semi-final showdown with victories on Monday while ailing 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro edged a thrilling five-setter to make the last eight at Flushing Meadows.
Suffering from the flu, the towering Argentine took some medication early in the match against Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem, who won the first two sets.
Saving two match points in the fourth set and with the Grandstand crowd roaring him on, Del Potro completed the comeback, sealing a 1-6 2-6 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 win.
“Oh my God, I don’t know (I won). What can I say after a battle like this. I was sick the last two days and I just tried to improve game after game,” Del Potro said after his match.
“I fought like this because of you guys, so thank you very much,” he added, pointing to the Argentine fans in the crowd.
Del Potro now faces Federer, whom he beat in the final in New York for his only grand slam title.
The Swiss third seed took an easier route into the quarter-finals, firing 11 aces and 39 winners as he despatched Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 6-2 7-5 in one hour, 45 minutes.
The only worry for Federer would be the condition of his back after he left the court midway through the match for treatment. The Swiss, who started slowly at New York due to the niggling issue, allayed fears after his match.
“I just felt something, sort of my muscle being tight at the back,” said Federer. “I wanted to get it done really quickly after the set break. It was more precaution. It’s all good. No problems there. I‘m not worried about it.”
World number one Nadal made short work of Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2 6-4 6-1 and the French Open champion now faces Russia’s Andrey Rublev, after the 19-year-old knocked out ninth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 7-5 7-6(5) 6-3.
Women’s top seed Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic routed American Jennifer Brady 6-1 6-0 to set up a match with American 20th seed CoCo Vandeweghe who beat Lucie Safarova 6-4 7-6(2).
American Madison Keys smashed 46 winners but also committed 52 unforced errors in her 7-6(2) 1-6 6-4 win over Ukraine’s fourth seed Elina Svitolina.
The 15th seed now faces world number 418 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia who cruised past Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-4.
Highlights from day eight of the U.S. Open tennis championships on Monday (times GMT):
- American 15th seed Madison Keys overcame a mid-match scare to defeat Ukraine’s fourth seed Elina Svitolina 7-6(2) 1-6 6-4 in two hours.
- Keys smashed 46 winners but also committed 52 unforced errors.
- The American faces Estonia’s world number 418 Kaia Kanepi in the quarter-finals.
- Five-time champion Roger Federer booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
- The third seed Swiss will face 2009 winner and 24th seed Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the final four.
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- Juan Martin del Potro saved two match points before completing a thrilling comeback from two sets down to beat Austria’s Dominic Thiem 1-6 2-6 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 in the fourth round.
- World number 418 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia fired 34 winners as she beat Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.
- American 20th seed CoCo Vandeweghe recorded a comfortable 6-4 7-6(2) fourth round victory over Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic.
- Vandeweghe will meet top seed Karolina Pliskova in her first quarter-final appearance at the Flushing Meadows.
- Russia’s Andrey Rublev knocked out ninth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 7-5 7-6(5) 6-3 in the round of 16.
- The 19-year-old Rublev became the youngest U.S. Open men’s quarter-finalist since American Andy Roddick in 2001.
- He will meet top seed Rafa Nadal for a place in the final four.
- World number one Rafa Nadal reached the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open for the first time in four years with a 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory over Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov.
- Two-time U.S. Open winner Nadal is on course to win his second grand slam of the year after sealing the French Open title in June.
- Top-seeded Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic dropped a single game as she beat American Jennifer Brady 6-1 6-0 to progress to the quarter-finals.
- The world number one, who lost to German Angelique Kerber in last year’s U.S. Open final, will face either American CoCo Vandeweghe or compatriot Lucie Safarova in the next round.
- Swiss world number three Roger Federer takes on Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber and women’s fourth-seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine faces American Madison Keys at the main showcourt later on Monday.
- Ninth seed Goffin plays Rublev, who ousted seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, at Louis Armstrong stadium.
- Sixth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem will face Argentina’s 24th seed Juan Martin del Potro in the late match at the Grandstand Stadium. (Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Hardik Vyas and Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond/Gene Cherry/Pritha Sarkar/Sudipto Ganguly)