US Open: the roar of Rafael Nadal, the joy of Tiger Woods
NEW YORK: Encouraged by the golf giant Tiger Woods second seed Rafael Nadal powered in the last eight of the United States Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Croatian Marin Cilic.
An animated Woods was standing, clenching his fist when the Spaniard returned from a second recession to reach the quarterfinals of the 40th Grand Slam, where Diego Schwartzman's 20th seed will play.
It is a great honor to play in front of all New York fans, but playing in front of Tiger is something very special, Nadal said in his interview on the court. I've always said that I don't have idols, but if I did, I would have to say it's him.
I try to follow him, every shot throughout the year. It is a pleasure for me to have him here supporting me. He is a great sports legend, one of the best athletes of all time. I want to congratulate you for one of the most incredible comebacks of the sport when you won the Masters this year.
In the stands, Woods allowed himself a smile. Nadal, who has a bad golf game, with a single-digit disadvantage, said he had not asked the American for advice.
Honestly, it's much better if Tiger doesn't see my swing. Maybe he would lose a bit of rhythm after that, ”said the Spaniard when Arthur Ashe Stadium broke out in another round of applause.
In the women’s draw, Belinda Bencic, who had faced World No.1 Naomi Osaka twice this year, losing just one set in both those meetings, had looked at the fourth round clash, quite simply, as just another match. “I was focused on the game, not the hype or the occasion or the stadium,” Bencic said of her 7-5, 6-4 win that took her back to the United States Open quarterfinals after a gap of five years.
On a day when the heavens opened and the roof turned into the stadiums Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong, he didn't care about the matter. They were mind games.
Bencic, who only had 12 not forced in the game, said the stage was adapted to his playing style, chess in a tennis cut, tracing movements, creating openings. The controlled conditions of a covered arena offered by the closed roof allows the ball to work without the elements coming into play.
“I adapt to my opponent. This is how I play. I don't have the most power, I don't have the majority of the winners or most of the aces, but I can read my opponent's game well, Bencic said. I was taking the ball early and anticipating well.
At 22 years of age, and only a few months older than Osaka, it feels like Bencic has been around forever. She first made the United States Open quarterfinals five years ago, on her debut, when Osaka hadn’t even made the qualifying field here. Injuries woes, however, punctuated her career. In the spring of 2017, her left wrist went under the knife, she was out of the sport for five months and her ranking dropped out of the 300-mark.
Bencic said: “All true athletes have to overcome obstacles, injuries, difficult times. It made me a stronger person, better player.
The Swiss, who has achieved more victories in the top 5 and top 10, 13 in total, than any other player on the WTA Tour this year, said her service is her best shot.