Rafael Nadal powered past Chung Hyeon into the US Open fourth round, capitalising on the extra rest he enjoyed before facing the South Korean.
The Spanish second seed, who had a walkover in the previous round, had not played since Tuesday and it showed in a dominant 6-3 6-4 6-2 win. By contrast, Chung had come through three rounds of qualifying and spent nine hours more on court.
With defending champion Novak Djokovic and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the opposite side of the draw, Nadal has – on paper at least – a more favourable route to a potential fifth US Open final.
Any concerns over the Spaniard’s fitness after he withdrew from this month’s Cincinnati Masters because of fatigue have been dispelled here with two ruthless displays in his two matches.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion did not face a single break point against Chung, who was a top-20 player and Australian Open semi-finalist last year.
He sealed the first set with an ace, the second when he forced the South Korean to hit long and then took victory on his first match point with a rasping forehand winner.
Last year Nadal reached the semi-finals here but was forced retire at the end of the second set against Juan Martin del Potro because of a knee injury.
On his way there he had come through two four-setters and a five-setter, which he says took their toll, and so the fact he has reached the second week at Flushing Meadows by spending little more than four hours on court could help him.
Belgian GP: Leclerc Takes Pole Ahead of Vettel
Charles Leclerc set a scintillating lap to beat Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix. The 21-year-old, still seeking a first career win, was a massive 0.748 seconds clear of his four-time world champion team-mate.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was second quickest after the first runs but was pipped by Vettel on their last laps after the world champion failed to improve. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Vettel grumbled about “traffic”, saying: “What a mess, what a mess, what a mess,” on the radio before swearing.
But in truth Leclerc was in a world of his own – Vettel had actually been 0.1secs quicker than his team-mate in the first sector of their final laps and Leclerc out-paced him by 0.4secs in the second sector and 0.2secs in the third.
And Vettel did not appear to have any more trouble with traffic than the other Ferrari.