NEW YORK—Coming into his fourth-round match at the US Open, Rafael Nadal had never really been in danger of losing, but he had been tested twice, dropping the first set in his two previous matches.
It was a different story on Labor Day, as the match was never in doubt. The 15-time Grand Slam champion was in control from start to finish, dominating Alexandr Dolgopolov, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013.
Dolgopolov, ranked 64th, is a former Top 15 player, but the Ukrainian didn’t look like one in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday. This match had some definite intrigue, though, as Dolgopolov had taken two of their previous three meetings, and the 28-year-old seemed to have a chip on his shoulder as rumors of potential match fixing in Winston-Salem last month surrounded him.
He was no match for Nadal on this day, though. He gave him a good fight in the second set—sandwiched between two thrashings from Rafa—but it was just a matter of time before the top seed broke and served out the set. And at 4-4, that’s exactly what happened.