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Rafa Nadal fist-pumps way into U.S. Open last 16

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Sept 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia hits to Rafael Nadal of Spain (not pictured) on day five of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sept 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia hits to Rafael Nadal of Spain (not pictured) on day five of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fourth seed Rafa Nadal showed he is healthy and ready to challenge for a third U.S. Open title as he rolled into the last 16 at Flushing Meadows on Friday with a fist-pumping 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.

Erasing any lingering concerns over an injured wrist that kept him out of Wimbledon, Nadal has made a powerful start to the year's final grand slam, racing into the fourth round without dropping a set.

It was vintage Nadal on a warm New York evening, as the energetic Spaniard wore down his 47th-ranked opponent with a breathless work rate and a bombardment of stinging forehands.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, Nadal did his best to keep another large crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium entertained closing out the match in theatrical style, setting up the winning point with a between-the-legs lob that had fans on their feet.

Nadal had them roaring again seconds later as he danced across the court in a succession of fist-pumps.

(Editing by Andrew Both)


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