Beijing: Rafael Nadal said he was braced for the “huge” serve of John Isner after Spain’s world number one bulldozed his way into the China Open quarter-finals yesterday.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion Nadal saw off the young Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 to set up a clash with Isner in Beijing.
The in-form American, the sixth seed, is renowned for his booming service game and Nadal expects to come under a barrage today.
Isner was impressive in blasting his way past Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-3 and Nadal said: “Tomorrow will be a tough one against Isner, he’s playing unbelievably well.
Nadal, 31, the top seed and coming off the back of a third US Open title, saved two match points against Frenchman Lucas Pouille in his opener in Beijing.
But he was always in control on Beijing’s outside hard courts against Khachanov, 21, breaking him in the fourth game of the first set on the way to a routine victory.
Andrey Rublev ensured a continued Russian presence in the men’s draw as he sprang a surprise to storm into the quarter-finals.
Rublev recovered from a set and a break down to oust seventh seed Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The Russian teenager looked well out of his depth in surrendering the first set. But the match turned on its head midway through the second set, and Rublev won 11 of the last 13 games to dispatch the world number 20 in an hour and 48 minutes.
The 19-year-old, ranked 39, showed during the summer he has the potential to climb far higher, getting the better of world number nine Grigor Dimitrov and number 14 David Goffin at the US Open.
Alexander Zverev bested Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-2 in the day’s late match. Cirstea stuns Pliskova – Page 22