Nadal and Federer on collision course at U.S. Open
Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal remained on course for a tantalising first ever collision at the U.S. Open after demolishing their opposition at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.
The two great rivals have never played each other at the year's final Grand Slam but are drawn to meet each other in the quarter-finals next week, and they moved a step closer by winning their third-round ties in brilliant fashion.
Federer, playing the feature night match at an buzzing Arthur Ashe Stadium, doled out a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 hammering to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino but knows the focus is already on the possible meeting with Nadal.
"I have gone through that my entire career, people talking about our matches even before the tournament started," he said.
"We're used to it. We know how to handle it. Clearly I think we both hope it's going to happen this time for the first time in New York."
Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland is congratulated by Adrian Mannarino of France
Photographs: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Nadal brushed aside Dodig
Earlier in the day, when the sun was at its hottest, Nadal turned on his own masterclass to brush aside Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 and lead a trio of Spanish men into the fourth round.
French Open runner-up David Ferrer also moved through, beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, while a third Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, ended the Cinderella run of British qualifier Dan Evans.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and the 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova were among the high-profile casualties in a women's draw packed with surprises.
Four of the eight women already through to the fourth round are unseeded and three of the eight are Italian.
Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot against Ivan Dodig of Croatia
Photographs: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for the USTA
Giorgi sent Wozniacki packing
Camila Giorgi, who had to come through the qualifiers to reach the main draw, sent Wozniacki packing with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win on Arthur Ashe Stadium while Flavia Pennetta knocked out the former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1. Roberta Vinci also won for Italy.
Nadal has been in great form in the past month, winning warm-up tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati. He has not dropped a single set in getting to the last 16 at Flushing Meadows and believes he is still improving.
"I played better today than in the previous matches. (That's) always a positive thing," he said.
Nadal's next opponent is Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat towering American John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), while Federer's next assignment is Robredo, a 7-6 (6), 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 winner over Evans.
Image: Camila Giorgi of Italy celebrates match point during her women's singles third round match against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images