US Open 2019 quarterfinals preview: Federer and Nadal look to take a step closer to first-ever meeting at Flushing Meadows
Following the conclusion of the fourth-round action, a field of 128 players at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year has been whittled down to eight. Five-time winner Roger Federer, three-time winner Rafael Nadal and 2016 winner Stan Wawrinka are the only former champions left in the field.
While the duo of Federer and Nadal has contested 55 and 39 Grand Slam quarterfinals respectively, four of the remaining six quarterfinalists have a combined 30 major quarterfinal appearances (Wawrinka - 16, Gael Monfils - 8, Grigor Dimitrov - 4, Diego Schwartzmann - 2) while the duo of Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini are making their debuts at this level of a major.
Here is a preview of each quarterfinal at the 2019 US Open:
Quarterfinal 1: Wawrinka vs Medvedev
2016 winner Wawrinka, who ended the title defence of top seed Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, takes on first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Daniil Medvedev of Russia for a place in the semifinals.
The duo's lone previous meeting on tour came in the first round at 2017 Wimbledon where Medvedev triumphed in four sets for his only top 5 win at a Slam. Medvedev is the form player on tour, racking up a tour-leading 48 match wins, 35 wins on hardcourt and 6 final appearances.
Wawrinka is 9-7 in Grand Slam quarterfinals (3-2 at the US Open), with his last appearance at this stage of the tournament at Flushing Meadows culminating in the Swiss lifting his third Grand Slam title and first at the US Open. In his last Grand Slam quarterfinal, Wawrinka fell to his good friend and compatriot Roger Federer in four sets at the French Open, earlier in the season.
Quarterfinal 2: Roger Federer vs Grigor Dimitrov
Five-time champion Roger Federer beat Belgian David Goffin for the loss of just four games in the fourth round to return to the US Open quarterfinals for the 13th time, which is the most in the Open Era behind Jimmy Connors' tally of 17. Federer faces Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov for a place in his 11th Flushing Meadows semifinal.
Federer's only two US Open quarterfinal defeats came against Tomas Berdych in 2012 and Juan Martin del Potro in 2017.
While Federer would be appearing in a record 56th Grand Slam quarterfinal (45-10 overall, 10-2 at the US Open), Dimitrov would be playing in his fifth (2-2) and first at Flushing Meadows. The Bulgarian's last quarterfinal at a Major came at the 2018 Australian Open where he fell to Kyle Edmund in four sets.
Federer is unbeaten in seven previous tour-level meetings with Dimitrov, which includes two Grand Slam matches (2017 Wimbledon fourth round and 2016 Australian Open third round) and three quarterfinals (2013-14 Basel, 2016 Brisbane).
Dimitrov is the seventh active player (along with Philipp Kohlschreiber - 14, Feliciano Lopez - 13, Roberto Bautista Agut - 9, Benoit Paire - 7, Denis Istomin - 7) and 16th overall, against whom Federer has at least seven victories without losing.
Quarterfinal 3: Matteo Berrettini vs Gael Monfils
Matteo Berrettini overcame 2017 quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, where he'll face Frenchman Gael Monfils. Berrettini is yet to face Monfils on tour.
In a career-best season where the Italian surged to title runs at Stuttgart and Budapest, a final in Munich and a first fourth-round at a Grand Slam (2019 Wimbledon: lost to Federer), the 23-year-old Italian has now tasted victory in his second Round of 16 match at a Major.
Monfils has previously appeared in eight Major quarterfinals (three at the US Open). This is the Frenchman's first last-eight match at a Major since a four-set defeat to Djokovic in the 2016 US Open semis.
Against a Grand Slam quarterfinal debutant, Monfils would fancy his chances of making it to the last four.
Quarterfinal 4: Diego Schwartzman vs Rafael Nadal
Three-time winner Rafael Nadal overcame the 2014 winner Marin Cilic to book a place in his 9th US Open quarterfinal, where the Spaniard will lock horns with diminutive Argentinian Diego Schwartzman.
In his 40th last-eight match at a Major (32-7 overall, 7-1 at the US Open), Nadal will take a 7-0 head-to-head lead against Schwartzman, which includes three victories in Grand Slam matches (2018 French Open quarterfinals, 2018 Australian Open fourth round, and 2015 US Open second round).
Schwartzman ended the run of young German Sascha Zverev to reach his third Grand Slam quarterfinal and second at Flushing Meadows (lost to Pablo Carreno Busta in 2017). The Argentinian took a set off eventual winner Nadal at the 2018 French Open, in his last appearance in a Major quarterfinal.
Nadal's only quarterfinal reverse at the US Open came in 2006 against Mikhail Youzhny, while the Spaniard's last quarterfinal defeat at a Grand Slam came at the 2018 Australian Open where he retired at 0-2 down in the fifth set.