U.S. Open: Simon's loss is a win for Nadal, who reaches fourth round
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who has reached the U.S. Open semifinals the last two years but never won a title here, looked stylish in his form-fitting lime green shirt and his game was equally flashy, filled with the grunting power that signifies the 24-year-old Spaniard is in top form.
Nadal easily beat 25-year-old Gilles Simon of France, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, Sunday in a match that lasted just two hours. The win put Nadal into a quarterfinal quadrant that is all Spanish. Nadal will face 23rd-seeded Feliciano Lopez (who had a short day when Sergiy Stakhovsky retired with a right toe infection when he was down, 6-3, 4-0). The winner of Nadal-Lopez will play the winner of another all-Spaniard fourth-round match between 10th-seeded David Ferrer (who beat yet another Spaniard, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2) or eighth-seeded Fernando Verdasco (who beat summer sensation David Nalbandian, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2).
Simon was possibly the happiest loser of the day. His girlfriend gave birth prematurely last Thursday to a boy (who is doing well), but Simon, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday, decided to stay at the Open until he lost. He plans to head home quickly now.
-- Diane Pucin reporting from New York
Photo: Rafael Nadal unleashes a big forehand against Gilles Simon on Sunday at the U.S. Open. Credit: Jason Szenes / EPA