Rafael Nadal, Serena march on

NEW YORK. – Defending champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday reached the US Open tennis quarter-finals for the eighth time where he will face Dominic Thiem, one of only three men to defeat him in 2018.

Six-time women’s champion Serena Williams also survived a spirited challenge from unseeded Kaia Kanepi to triumph 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday and reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion looked set to romp home when she seized the first set from Kanepi in just 18 minutes. But the hard-hitting Estonian, who took out world number one Simona Halep in the first round, settled down in the second set, shaking off the partisan crowd in a jammed Arthur Ashe Stadium to push Williams the rest of the way.

“It wasn’t an easy match at all,” said Williams, who let out what she called a “Serena scream” after ripping a backhand cross court to hold serve in the opening game of the third set.

“Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief,” said Williams, who took control with a break in the next game and maintained that advantage until she fired a forehand winner on her first match point.

Williams finished with 18 aces and 47 total winners. A couple of loose points gifted Kanepi a break in the first game of the second set, however, and she couldn’t get back on terms.

Williams double-faulted on break point to send Kanepi up 5-2.

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