September 5, 2016
Rafael Nadal was beaten by the 22-year-old Frenchman, Lucas Pouille in one of the big shocks at the US Open.
‘It took everything. I couldn’t dream better than that,’ said the world number 25, who now looks set to climb the rankings in fine style.
Meanwhile Novak Djokovic returned to form by beating the young Brit, Kyle Edmund in straight sets.
However, it was Nadal who left everyone stunned by his vulnerability when he had previously looked so strong.
The Spaniard hadn’t lost a set and appeared to be summoning enough of his blazing best to offer a threat to the other big names in week two.
Instead, Pouille put at end to Nadal’s campaign by winning 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).
He will play his compatriot, Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals. And Djokovic will face another Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who defeated the American hope, Jack Sock.
Novak didn’t allow himself to come under too much fire from Edmund’s powerful game, the Serb beginning brightly and staying too sharp throughout in his 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
However, he needed treatment on that troublesome upper arm during the third set and you wonder how fit he will prove to be during the final stages if the going gets really tough.
Djokovic didn’t seem worried. He said later: ‘It feels great to play a full match after a weird couple of days when I didn’t play too much tennis.
‘I came out of the blocks with high intensity. It’s not easy to do that when you have to wait all day to play.’
Edmund said: ‘It’s been a great tournament for me and I have plenty of positives to take from the way I’ve played here.’
Due to Novak’s injury concerns, it seems that Andy Murray might be marginally the favourite to lift the title at this stage.
But Djokovic has such a great record against Murray that he will feel he is still in good enough shape to see off his Brit rival if it comes to the crunch.
Meanwhile Serena Williams remains favourite to lift the women’s crown and make history by going one better than the legendary Steffi Graf in the Open era.