New York, Sep 3 (IANS/EFE) Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal advanced to the third round of the US Open on Wednesday after defeating Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-6(5), 6-3 and 7-5.
Nadal will now face off Italy’s Fabio Fognini, who beat Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-4 and 6-4 in the second round on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Spanish veteran David Ferrer moved through to the third round with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) victory Wednesday over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic, while home-crowd favorite Mardy Fish wrapped up his career with a narrow loss to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
Despite missing Wimbledon and the US Open tune-up events due to an elbow injury, the 33-year-old Ferrer moved through thanks to solid play from the baseline and his ability to capitalize on his chances to break serve.
For the match, the seventh-seeded Spaniard made just 24 unforced errors, compared to 48 for his opponent, and converted five of his eight break-point opportunities.
Next up for Ferrer in the third round will be French No. 27 seed Jeremy Chardy, a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) winner over Slovakia’s Martin Klizan.
But Wednesday’s most emotional match was a five-set battle between Fish and the 18th-seeded Lopez, who rallied from a two-set-to-one deficit to defeat the 33-year-old American 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Fish, who made a comeback this year after seeing much of the latter part of his career derailed by a heart problem and an anxiety disorder, was broken when serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set and eventually succumbed in just over three hours.
The American, who achieved a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2011, several months before he was hospitalized with severe cardiac arrhythmia, was teary-eyed as he exited the court to a standing ovation.
In other action Wednesday afternoon, defending champion Marin Cilic, the No. 9 seed, moved through with a 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Russian Evgeny Donskoy.
Cilic, the surprise winner of last year’s event, struck 19 aces, hit 39 winners, committed 29 unforced errors and converted five of his eight break-point chances. He only dropped his own serve once.
He will next take on the winner of the match between 17th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.
Tenth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic moved through with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-1) win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco; Belgium’s David Goffin, the No. 14 seed, rallied to defeat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1; and Italian Fabio Fognini, the No. 32 seed, cruised past Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
In women’s second-round play on Wednesday, American top-seeded Serena Williams moved one step closer to completing a rare calendar-year Grand Slam by defeating the Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.