Fourth seed Rafael Nadal showed he is healthy and ready to challenge for a third US Open title as he rolled into the last 16 at Flushing Meadows on Friday with a fist-pumping 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.
Erasing any lingering concerns over an injured left wrist that kept him out of Wimbledon, Nadal has made a powerful start to the year’s final grand slam, racing into the fourth round without dropping a set.
It was vintage Nadal on a warm New York evening, as the energetic Spaniard wore down his 47th-ranked opponent with a breathless work rate and a bombardment of stinging forehands.
The 14-time grand slam winner concedes he still feels some discomfort in his wrist but it has not affected his performance on the New York hard courts.
Despite the one-sided scoreline, Nadal did his best to keep another large crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium entertained on Friday closing out the match in theatrical style, setting up the winning point with a between-the-legs lob that had fans on their feet.
The 30-year-old had them roaring again seconds later as he danced across the court in a succession of fist-pumps.