Rafael Nadal is back in the US Open quarterfinals, and he won’t face a rematch of the 2017 final.
Instead, it’s a rematch of this year’s French Open final.
Nadal beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 on Sunday at Flushing Meadows. Next up is No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem.
Thiem beat Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2), denying the fifth-seeded South African a second shot at Nadal. Nadal beat Anderson last year for his third US Open title.
Nadal and Thiem will be joined in the quarterfinals by John Isner, who used a booming serve to beat Milos Raonic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Isner, seeded 11th, also defeated Raonic at Wimbledon on the way to a semifinals appearance, his best finish in a Grand Slam. Isner is known for his marathon matches and played another long one in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Isner had the crowd behind him on every point, and the 6-foot-11 American pumped his fist on every winner.
“The crowd just kept me in it,’’ Isner said. “This atmosphere is like a jungle. It was amazing.’’
He improved to 5-1 lifetime against Raonic. Raonic needed treatment on his back after the fourth set.
The 33-year-old Isner is the tournament leader in aces and was nailing them against Raonic with 140 mph serves.
Next up for Isner is 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who beat No. 20 Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday night and has won all 12 sets he has played at Flushing Meadows in 2018.
After clinching his first US Open quarterfinal berth since 2011, Isner’s thoughts flashed to someone who wasn’t at the stadium to celebrate: his wife, Maddie. She was home, expecting the couple’s first child.
“That’s definitely the most important thing going on right now in my life, more important than this tournament,’’ Isner said. “But as long as that baby is still in her belly, I’ll be here.’’
He keeps his phone ringer on loud and in his bag at all times in case a mad dash home is needed.
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