U.S. Open R4 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Dolgopolov, Federer vs. Kohlschreiber

The first-ever Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer showdown at the U.S. Open is becoming closer and closer with each passing round. They are two wins apiece away as the action heads into Monday, when quarterfinal spots will be at stake.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov

Nadal and Dolgopolov will be squaring off for the ninth time in their careers when they clash in round four of the U.S. Open on Monday. The head-to-head series stands at 6-2 in favor of Nadal, who has won four of their five previous hard-court encounters. Dolgopolov’s victories came in a duo of three-setters; he prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) at the 2014 Indian Wells Masters and 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4 one season later on the grass of Queen’s Club. They most recently faced each other earlier this year in Brisbane, where Nadal restored order to the matchup by getting the job done 6-3, 6-3 for his first defeat of Dolgopolov since the 2014 Rio de Janeiro title match.

Not many could have predicted that this borderline rivalry would be renewed in New York when the draw was revealed last Friday and put them three rounds away from one another. After all, a struggling Dolgopolov had been just 16-17 in 2017 with five retirements and recent match-fixing accusations in Winston-Salem–where he lost right away to Thiago Monteiro 6-3, 6-3. Out of seemingly nowhere, however, the world No. 64 has advanced at the U.S. Open by beating Jan-Lennard Struff (in five sets), Tomas Berdych (four), and Viktor Troicki (three). If Dolgopolov’s tournament got off to a relatively slow start, Nadal has been a master of starting each match slow only to right the ship. The world No. 1 defeated Dusan Lajovic 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-2, came back from a set and a break down to beat Taro Daniel 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, and fought past Leonardo Mayer 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday evening. Nadal is now looking to advance farther than the fourth round in Flushing Meadows for the first time since he last captured the title there in 2013. Although the Spaniard is not looking invincible and Dolgopolov has a decent history against him, the underdog will have to do much more than beat Struff, Troicki, and an injured Berdych in order to inspire real confidence. Nadal has done well to find solutions to early problems so far this fortnight and it should not take him long to solve a familiar foe in Dolgopolov.

Pick: Nadal in 3

(3) Roger Federer vs. (33) Philipp Kohlschreiber

It is becoming a trend at this U.S. Open: Federer facing an opponent against whom he owns double-digit wins compared to zero losses. The Swiss had been 16-0 against Mikhail Youzhny, 12-0 against Feliciano Lopez, and now he is 11-0 at the expense of Kohlschreiber–his Monday opponent. Counting the trio of victories Federer has already scored at this U.S. Open, he is a combined 43-0 against his first four adversaries. Despite those gaudy numbers, though, it has not come easy. The 36-year-old needed five sets to scrape past both Frances Tiafoe and Mikhail Youzhny before raising his level considerably in a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 rout of Lopez on Saturday night.

Kohlschreiber earned another shot at Federer by defeating Tim Smyczek, Santiago Giraldo, and John Millman, The 37th-ranked German has not yet dropped a set nor even been extended to a single tiebreaker. He is a perfect 11-0 in non-retirement matches since Wimbledon and 15-0 in his last 15 sets dating back to the Kitzbuhel quarterfinals. During this stretch, however, Kohlschreiber has not faced anyone in the current top 25. The competition level now ratchets up exponentially in the form of Federer, who eased concerns surrounding his potentially bad back with his much-improved performance against Lopez.

Pick: Federer in 3 losing 12 games or fewer

1 Comment on U.S. Open R4 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Dolgopolov, Federer vs. Kohlschreiber

  1. tomms schedule out

    rafa gets day match..fed night yet again

    fed will have played 4 of his 5 matches at night..rafa just 1

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