Rafael Nadal breezed into the US Open fourth round with a business-like 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Chung Hyeon on Saturday.
The three-time champion took control of the match when he broke the South Korean’s serve in the first set to grab a 4-2 lead and never looked back on a sunsoaked Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Chung, who qualified for the main draw and then won his first- and second-round matches in five sets to build a five-match winning streak, found Nadal an entirely new challenge.
Nadal booked a last-16 clash with Marin Cilic, after the 2014 champion beat No.14 seed John Isner in four sets.
Also progressing to the fourth round was sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who refocused after letting slip a 5-2 first-set lead to beat Aljaz Bedene 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 6-3 7-6(3).
It is the first time Zverev has advanced to the last 16 at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal had been on court for just over two hours prior to his third round match after defeating John Millman in straight sets on Tuesday before getting a walkover into the third round when Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrew.
The second seeded Spaniard, who has been hampered by troublesome knees throughout his career, did not wear his usual tape on his legs during the match.
“Tape is not working anymore,” he said with a smile during his on-court interview.
“I am happy to be playing on hardcourts and I am trying to play a little more aggressive. I am happy to be in the fourth round … that’s the only thing that matters to me. I can’t think farther than that.
“Last year I had some tough matches and in the semifinal I had to retire. This year I had to miss some tournaments, I’m not 25 anymore.
“You never know what’s better or worse, all that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. I just think day by day, try to practice and be ready for a tough match.”
In another result, Nadal’s countryman Pablo Andujar swatted aside Alexander Bublik 6-4 6-3 6-2 to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
He will play the winner of the stylish third-round clash between Gael Monfils and Denis Shapovalov.
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