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The Draw: 30 June

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Championships begin: 3 July


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Friday, 1 September 2017 09:44 AM BST
US Open Day 4: Federer, Nadal dig deep to stay on course rounds up the action from Day 4 at the US Open. READ MORE

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remain on course for a semi-final showdown at the US Open, but only just. And if they don’t start to find top form soon, they may come unstuck well before then.

But they are still there, even if Federer had to go the distance for the second round in a row, coming from two sets to one down to beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia and Nadal had to overcome a slow start to wear down Taro Daniel of Japan in four sets.

Federer goes five again

On a day when Grigor Dimitrov added his name to the list of fallen seeds, the big two in the men’s draw were fully tested.

Federer cruised through the first set and a half against Youzhny, whom he had beaten 16 times out of 16, and served for the second set, only to inexplicably lose his way. 

As the 35-year-old Youzhny played well above his ranking of 101, bringing back memories of his top 10 days, Federer struggled, going down two sets to one.

When he failed to serve out the fourth set, the alarm bells were ringing again but he kept calm and as Youzhny was struck down by cramp in the fifth, the 36-year-old Federer took advantage to claim a 6-1, 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory and a place in the third round against Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

“My preparation hasn't been good at all here,” Federer said.

“I knew I was going to maybe struggle early on. Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to. But I'm still in the draw, which gives me a chance.

"I still believe I'm going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I'm not playing all that bad.

"It's just that I'm going a bit up and down in waves throughout the match. I'm pretty confident that I'm only going to get better from here.

"That's a good thing. Because I've played a lot, I definitely found some rhythm now.”

Nadal eases through

World No.1 Nadal found himself in a battle against Daniel, who really looked like he believed he could win. When he led by a set and an early break, the crowd started to believe it too, but Nadal, who’d had the luxury of the day off on Wednesday while Daniel went the distance, slowly ramped up the volume and was eventually good value for his 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory. He’ll meet Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in round three. 

“For me it’s a very important victory," said Nadal. "It’s true I didn’t play very well tonight but I am through. I had a lot of opportunities, so (I told myself) to keep going.

"I need to improve a lot of things but I am here to try every day and I really believe that I am going to do much better.”

Pliskova living dangerously

For a while on Arthur Ashe Stadium it looked as if world No.1 Karolina Pliskova would go the same way as the No.2, Simona Halep, in exiting the tournament. Trailing American qualifier Nicole Gibbs by a set and caught up in a dogfight in the second, the Czech, who was the runner-up in 2016, found her form just in time to clinch a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

Pliskova is still in with a chance of staying world No.1 after the event, and the number of women chasing her is down to four after Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 by Japan’s Karumi Nara.

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina, one of those who could take top spot, advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Evgeniya Rodina of Russia while French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and Americans Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe all progressed.

Shocks of the day

Two leading men’s seeds joined Kuznetsova on the sidelines as No.7 Grigor Dimitrov and No.15 Tomas Berdych went out. Dimitrov had been many people’s tip as an outsider for the title after his recent win in Cincinnati but though he led 5-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second, he went down 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 to another of the rising stars of the Tour, Russian Andrey Rublev.

A hampered Berdych was also beaten in four sets by Alexandr Dolgopolov. Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and David Goffin were among the seeded players to avoid the upsets.

Seeing double

Jamie Murray was on court twice in the space of two hours on Thursday as he opened his men’s doubles and mixed doubles bids in style. First he and Bruno Soares, the defending champions, held off Alexander Peya and Julian Knowle 6-4, 7-6 and then Murray and Hingis, the Wimbledon mixed doubles champions, crushed Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden 6-1, 6-4 in round one.

Stat of the day

3 hours, 33 minutes - That was the duration of the longest match in US Open women’s history, between American Shelby Rogers and Daria Gavrilova of Australia, with Rogers winning out 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(5).

Shot of the day

A day before his birthday, Gael Monfils was breaking out the party tricks with this no-look volley...

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