Rafael Nadal speaks out after booking spot in US Open last-16

Rafael Nadal was in good form (Picture: Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has enjoyed a straightforward first week at the US Open, winning two matches in straight sets and not having to play the other.

The Spaniard eased past Hyeon Chung on Saturday afternoon, hitting 26 winners and not facing a single break point in a routine 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over the Korean qualifier.

Nadal admitted he would have preferred to play against Thanasi Kokkinakis – the Australian wildcard who withdrew due to a shoulder injury – in the second round in order to find his range in New York, although accepted the extra rest could prove beneficial going into the second week of the event.

The world No. 2 will meet a big server next as he continues his pursuit of a fourth title at Flushing Meadows, with Marin Cilic and John Isner his next opponent and he is prepared to step up his game in order to find the form required to win a 19th Grand Slam title.

‘From here, the main thing, I am happy to be where I am. I’m in the fourth round, and that’s the main thing.

Hyeon Chung was well beaten (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

‘Now is the moment to push, to make a step forward if I want to give me a chance to fight for the important things. That’s what I going to try. That’s all.

‘Sorry for Thanasi in the second day. Honestly tough for a player like him, that he’s very young and he already had plenty of issues, physical issues. Tough, and I hope it’s not too bad.

‘But for me personally, in some way, I will prefer to play the match. In some way is true that you save energy. So you never know what’s the best thing.’

Chung may have been well beaten but the former Australian Open semi-finalist was delighted to return to the biggest stage against one of the world’s best after a long layoff.

‘It was very tough,’ Chung – who will climb back inside the world’s top-150 – said. ‘Always tough to play against one of the best players in the world, but I’m just trying to do my best.

‘Today is not my day, but I’m really happy to play in New York after the six months’ injury.’


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