NEW YORK (AP) – Kevin Anderson won’t get a second shot at Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open.
The 2017 runner-up was beaten by Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2) on Sunday in a fourth-round match.
Anderson was hoping to earn a rematch with Nadal, who beat him last year in the South African’s first Grand Slam final. Instead, it will be the ninth-seeded Thiem who could face Nadal in the quarterfinals.
“Of course it’s disappointing,” Anderson said. “I wanted to be here right until the end and put myself in contention of winning my first major. It wasn’t meant to be.”
The top-ranked Nadal was playing Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in the round of 16.
A matchup with Thiem would be a rematch of the French Open final, won by Nadal, and their first not on clay. Nadal leads the series 7-3.
Anderson’s run to last year’s final was a surprise, as at No. 32 he was the lowest-ranked U.S. Open finalist in the history of the ATP rankings. But he backed that up with a strong season, reaching the Wimbledon final and earning the No. 5 seed in this tournament.
He had won six of seven meetings against Thiem, including all six on hard courts. Thiem’s only victory had come on clay, his best surface.
But Anderson couldn’t get anything going in this matchup with Thiem, who won 41 of 45 points (91 percent) and never faced a break point.
“First of all, I served really, really well today,” Thiem said. “Not the best percentage, but I almost made every point in the first serve game. So I didn’t face one break point, and I didn’t feel so much pressure on service games.”
Thiem reached his first quarterfinal at any Grand Slam besides the French Open. He was agonizingly close to getting there last year at the U.S. Open, leading by two sets against Juan Martin del Potro in the round of 16 before the 2009 champion roared back to win.
“It was not on my mind, but I was pretty close last year,” Thiem said. “It was very painful.”
Serena Williams was in action later Sunday after routing her sister on Friday in what she felt was her best match since her return to tennis.
She’ll need to be sharp again, with Kaia Kanepi looking to knock out another women’s star.
Serena, seeded 17th, routed Venus 6-1, 6-2 in matching the most-lopsided victory in the Williams sisters’ series. That put her into the match against Kanepi, the 44th-ranked Estonian who upset top-ranked Simona Halep in the first round and is seeking her second consecutive quarterfinal in Flushing Meadows.
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