John McEnroe claimed Rafa Nadal looked like the best player in the world after the Spanish superstar won his 50th match at the US Open to race through to the quarter-finals.
The world No.1 suffered a slow start to the final Major of the season but simply destroyed unseeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2 6-4 6-1.
It is the first time Nadal has reached the last eight in New York since winning the title in 2013. He will next face Russian teenager Andrey Rublev with the chance to reach the semi-finals without facing a player in the top 50.
And four-time champion McEnroe, now a Eurosport commentator, said: “He has got to feel great about this. He played like the No.1 seed.
“There have been times where he has not even been able to play this event. Times where he has struggled here – probably more than any other Major.
“You won’t be able to tell by what he says or how he acts but he has got to be awfully happy at what transpired today.”
Dolgopolov swore in a press conference and then refused to answer match-fixing allegations following his match in Winston-Salem two weeks ago. The world No 64 hit more winners – 25 to 23 – but also 39 unforced errors as he was unable to match Nadal’s focus and intensity.
“I think I played a solid match,” said the French Open champion. “I played with not many mistakes.
“Dolgopolov is a player who can play amazing shots but sometimes a bit unpredictable. He combined amazing points with mistakes so I tried to be very, very focused all the time.
“The season has been very positive until today. I am in the quarter-finals here in New York – that is a positive result for me. I am looking forward to keep playing better.”
He will next face worldRublev, who beat injured David Goffin 7-5 7-6 6-3 to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
“Of course I am really happy,” said the 19-year-old. “I have never played Rafa but I have practised with him a couple of times. I will just go and enjoy it and we will see.