Ferrer upset; Nadal through

New York, August 31:

World No 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain rolled into the fourth round of the US Open while Japanese teen Kei Nishikori pulled off the biggest upset on Saturday that saw three top men ousted.

Wimbledon and French Open champion Nadal raised his game when challenged, winning his final 11 games to answer a fightback and defeat 71st-ranked Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3, 6-0, for his 41st triumph in 42 starts. Nishikori stunned Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5 to become the first Japanese man into the fourth round of a US Open.

Nishikori, 18, is the youngest man in the US Open round of 16 since Marat Safin in 1998. The only Japanese man to go deeper in a Grand Slam event was Shuzo Matsuoka, who reached the 1995 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Ferrer was joined on the seeded scrap heap by Argentine No 7 David Nalbandian, who lost to France’s Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, and US ninth seed James Blake, who fell to compatriot Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Next up for the Asian sensation, Nishikori is Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, who outlasted France’s Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

British sixth seed Andy Murray barely avoided the victims list, rallying to defeat Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-7 (5/7), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1, 6-3 and book a date with Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

On the women’s side, seventh seed Venus Williams and fourth-seeded sister Serena cruised

in third-round, moving them one step closer to a quarter-final showdown at the year’s last Grand Slam event.

Seven-time Slam champion Venus Williams advanced by beating Ukraine’s Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-1. Next up is Polish ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Williams in 2006 at Luxembourg in their only prior meeting. Eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams beat Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-2, 6-1 and will next face French wild card entrant Severine Bremond, who outlasted Italy’s Tathiana Garbin 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.

Russian sixth seed Dinara Safina beat Swiss teen Timea Bacsinszky 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 and will next face German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, the first woman qualifier since Anna Kournikova in 1996 to reach the US Open’s fourth round.

But the men stole the show. Olympic champion Nadal was down a break in the second set until blasting a running forehand winner past Troicki to level at 3-3 and he never lost another game. Nadal can match his best US Open showing by winning his next match over Sam Querrey, the 55th-ranked American who ousted Croatian 14th seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2. Nadal won their only prior meeting in 2006.

Nadal, whose only loss since May was to Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic in a Cincinnati semi-final, could join Roger Federer, Rod Laver and Pete Sampras as the only men to

win three Slams in a row in the Open era.