After a tough match with German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Monday, Rafael Nadal has a favorable draw that will have him meeting fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the quarterfinals.
Nadal lost the first set to Kohlschreiber after dropping a tiebreaker, but he stormed back to win the next three sets to finish off his opponent in a little over three hours. Like everyone else who has played Rafa at Arthur Ashe Stadium this year, the German failed to break Nadal's serve.
Up until that point, it looked as though Nadal was unbeatable, as evidenced by Nadal not dropping a single set en route to his fourth-round match. While that head of steam seemed to slow a bit on Monday, facing Robredo next should help him recover to make a run at the men's final.
Robredo hasn't had any success against Nadal in his career. Rafa is a perfect 6-0 against Robredo all-time and has only dropped one set in those meetings. It's been four years since they last met and while Robredo's best days are clearly behind him, Nadal is still very much at the top of his game.
It can also be argued that Robredo is lucky to have reached the quarterfinals. He did beat tennis legend Roger Federer to get to his showdown with Nadal, but that was more of a match which Federer lost with a ton of mistakes and poor play rather than a convincing win for Robredo.
This is exactly the kind of opponent who Nadal needed. After a long, hard-fought match with Kohlschreiber, Nadal will likely have to exert far less energy in handling his next opponent should he go ahead and take care of business.
That is a far better scenario for Nadal than having to face Federer, even if Federer wasn't at his best.
Nadal will need all the energy he can get with a potentially tough road left to the final. David Ferrer or Richard Gasquet will stand in Nadal's way should he advance, and of course, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are still alive on the other side of the draw and are the favorites to meet Nadal in the final.
If he lost anything at all in the fourth round, Nadal will have a golden opportunity to regain it with a strong showing against Robredo. That will go a long way in helping Nadal advance to yet another U.S. Open men's final.