US Open Day 8 Preview: Rafael Nadal Faces Frances Tiafoe Test | ATP Tour

Rafael NadalBidding for his third Grand Slam title of the season clashes with American Star Frances Tiafoe on Monday at US Openwhere #NextGenATP stars Carlo Alcaraz and Jannik sinner are also chasing quarter-final spots in New York.

ATPTour.com looks at five things to see on Day 8 at Flushing Meadows.

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1) Rafa takes on home favorite Tiafoe: After an injury-disturbed build-up to US Openfour-time champion Rafael Nadal appears to be regaining a foothold in Flushing Meadows.

The Spaniard had played just one game during the North American hard-court swing before arriving in New York with a stomach problem. Three convincing victories later, he looks in good shape to face a serious title challenge in New York, where he is chasing his third major title of the season and record-extending 23rd Grand Slam crown.

Next thing is in his way Frances Tiafoe, the 24-year-old home favorite capable of playing some of the most breathtaking tennis matches on the ATP Tour. Tiafoe sawed off Diego Schwartzman reachable in straight sentences on Saturday US Open fourth round for the third straight year, and Nadal believes he needs to step things up if he wants to extend his lead to 3-0 in the ATP Head2Head series against Tiafoe on Monday.

“In the second week against a great player like Frances, I have to be ready to play and raise my level,” said Nadal, the current No. 1 on the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings. “I hope I can do that. I know it’s the right moment to improve if I want to keep having chances to continue in the tournament.”

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2) Alcaraz seeks Cilic hat-trick: Carlo Alcaraz had the edge against it Marin Cilic so far in 2022. The Spaniard defeated Cilic in straight sets en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami in March and then again in Cincinnati in August to go 2-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series to take the lead. He is now preparing for a third meeting with the Croatian on hard courts in the United States this year, at the scene of one of Cilic’s career highlights – his 2014 US Open Triumph.

Cilic fought hard to win in three hours and 59 minutes Daniel Evans in the third round to keep his dreams of a second New York crown alive, but at Alcaraz he will face an opponent who is yet to drop a set in this tournament and someone who has the extra motivation to claim a win know keeps his chances alive youngest No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP ranking history on September 12.

3) Norrie & Rublev collide: Cameron Norrie and Andrei Rublev couldn’t have had more different paths to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. Seventh-seeded Briton Norrie has so far claimed three comfortable straight-set wins, while ninth-seeded Rublev has been tested in two epic five-setters against him Laslo Djere and Denis Shapovalov.

Having split their previous two Tour-level meetings, resilient left-hander Norrie and heavy-hitting Rublev met in a Grand Slam for the first time. Rublev bids for his third US Open quarter-finals while Norrie is already breaking new ground in New York, where he had failed to advance past the third round in six previous attempts.

4) Sinner Seeks QF Spot: Jannik sinner‘s comeback win over another #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima ensured on Saturday that the Italian has reached at least the fourth round in all four Grand Slams in 2022. The 21-year-old went a step further with both Australian Open and Wimbledonand he’s now trying to make it in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with three quarterfinals at the Majors this season Ilya Ivashka.

Ivashka improved his 2021 run into the third round at Flushing Meadows with an impressive four-set win over Sinner’s compatriot Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday. The 28-year-old has only reached this level of a Grand Slam once – at Wimbledon 2021 – where he lost to another Italian, Matteo Berretini.

5) “Special Ks to extend the Grand Slam run?”: Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios have started their girl US Open Double campaign in solid fashion but the ‘Special Ks’ face a tough test in the third round as they take 11th place Lloyd glass pool and Harry Helovaara.

Glasspool and Heliovaara’s impressive 2022 season saw them rise to eighth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Team Rankings, just two spots behind Australian Open Master Kokkinakis and Kyrgios.

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