Sweden’s Robin Soderling remains on course for a quarter-final showdown with Roger Federer after advancing to the last 16 of the US Open today.
Soderling needed five sets to edge past Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer in the first round, but has since dropped just 16 games, the fifth seed beating Holland’s Thiemo De Bakker 6-2 6-3 6-3 on Saturday in just an hour and 42 minutes.
The 26-year-old will face Spain’s Albert Montanes in the fourth round, but all eyes are already on that potential clash with five-time champion Federer in the quarter-finals.
Soderling beat Federer at the same stage of the French Open earlier this year, ending the Swiss star’s amazing run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances.
“Everybody has been telling me since the draw came out I’m going against Roger in the quarters,” Soderling said. “It’s still far ahead.
“I’m the fifth seed, so I know I’m going to play one of the four top guys in quarters. They’re all good players so it doesn’t really matter who I’m playing.
“I started my first match maybe not so great, but after that I think I played two pretty good matches. And today was not easy. It was difficult conditions. I told myself before the match, ’It’s not going to be pretty.’
“I think, given the circumstances, I played a pretty good match.”
Montanes had earlier become the first man into the last 16 after Japan’s Kei Nishikori was forced to retire from their third-round match.
Montanes, the 21st seed, had won the first set 6-2 and was leading 2-1 in the second when Nishikori indicated he was unable to continue due to a groin injury.
Nishikori, who came through three matches in qualifying just to reach the main draw, was possibly suffering the effects of his second-round win over 11th seed Marin Cilic.
The 20-year-old beat Cilic 5-7 7-6 3-6 7-6 6-1 in a match lasting just a minute shy of five hours.
France’s Gael Monfils also advanced to the last 16, the 17th seed beating Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 6-4.