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Sunday, 3 September 2017 09:16 AM BST
US Open Day 6: Federer clicks into gear rounds up the action from Day 6 at the US Open. READ MORE

Federer lays down a marker

Forget about the back, forget about the rustiness. Roger Federer laid down a marker for the rest of the men’s field at the US Open on Saturday night as he booked his place in the last 16 with by far his best performance of week one.

The Swiss, looking stiff in round one and out of sorts in round two as he went the distance both times, was clean as a whistle as he ripped Lopez apart.

His timing was back to its very best, his movement was exceptional and apart from one dropped serve in the third set, his play was close to flawless as he won 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.

Federer will now play Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round, a man he’s beaten in all 11 of their previous matches and after the early struggles, he now looks into his groove again, favourite for what would be his third Grand Slam title of the year.

“I’m very happy,” a beaming Federer said. “I struggled the first couple of rounds, but that’s something that was also down to my opponents playing well.

"I played a very clean match and couldn’t be happier to get a match (done) in straight sets against Feliciano.”

After Federer had won the first set, Lopez had break points in two games early in the second set but the Swiss snuffed them out. An early break gave Federer the lead in the third and though Lopez did get back on terms at 3-3, Federer broke again in the 12th game to clinch a satisfying win.

Nadal finding his range

Two more wins for Federer and Rafael Nadal and the US Open will finally have its first ever clash between perhaps the two best players of all time. World No.1 Nadal also turned in an improved performance, despite dropping the first set to Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. 

I was always there mentally

- Rafael Nadal

Nadal missed his first 14 break point opportunities but finally broke midway through the second set and eventually took a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win. With his forehand beginning to click as the match wore on, he now plays Alexandr Dolgpolov of Ukraine.

“I had moments to be frustrated but I was always there mentally,” Nadal said. “I accepted that I was nervous on the break points. At the end of the second, third and fourth, I was hitting much better with the forehand, hitting up the line, changing the angles.

"I lost to Dolgpolov in Indian Wells a couple of years ago. I need to play aggressive. I need to feel that when I hitting the forehand, he's not able to take advantage on the point. That's going to be my goal.”

Pliskova saves match point

Twelve months ago, Karolina Pliskova saved a match point against Venus Williams and went on to reach her first Grand Slam final. On Saturday, she did it again, this time against Shuai Zhang, who served for the match in the second set before the world No.1 found her form, clinching a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win.

Defending ranking points, chasing a first Grand Slam title and being the hunted one at the top of the rankings are all bringing their own stress. “I feel pressure,” she said. “I just want to win. I know all the opponents are behind me (in the rankings), so (on paper) I should win every match, which is tough.”

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina remains in the hunt for top spot after she beat American Shelby Rogers 6-4, 7-5 while another American, Coco Wandeweghe, edged out Aga Radwanska in a high-quality encounter, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

Upset of the day

Russia’s Daria Kasatkina reached the fourth round of a slam for the first time as she took out the French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-3, 6-2.

Del Potro and Thiem set up rematch

In a repeat of their fourth round meeting here in 2016, Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem will once again meet at the same stage of the US Open, with both having made quiet yet promising progress through the draw. 

I don't want to cry this year

- Juan Martin del Potro

Del Potro, who is yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows, turned in one of his best performances of the year against 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, with his thumping forehands guiding him to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Last year, Del Potro was so overcome by the New York crowd's affection that he was moved to tears during his quarter-final loss to Stan Wawrinka, and the emotions were again clear this time around.

"I don’t want to cry this year,” he told his interviewer on court. “I’m close, so let’s finish the interview here.

Thiem, meanwhile, held off a spirited effort from rising star Taylor Fritz, prevailing 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. The Austrian is yet to record a win over del Potro, and his reward for doing so would be a quarter-final meeting with either Federer or Kohlschreiber.

Shot of the day

No one hits a forehand on the run like Rafael Nadal but this one was special, even by Rafa’s standards

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