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Page last updated at 23:54 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 00:54 UK

Nadal battles through pain to win

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 31 August - 13 September
BBC coverage: Live text commentaries on the website from 1600 BST each day, regular updates on 5 live, full commentary on 5 live sports extra in week two, both finals on 5 live

Rafael Nadal
Nadal called for the trainer early in the third set

World number three Rafael Nadal played through pain to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-5 6-4 6-4 and stay in the hunt for his first US Open title.

Nadal, who missed this year's Wimbledon through tendinitis in both knees, was hampered in the later stages by a midriff injury and required treatment.

The 23-year-old looked short of his best but Almagro repeatedly lost the initiative after taking the upper hand.

Juan Martin del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga both won in straight sets.

Fifth seed Del Potro of Argentina defeated Austria's Daniel Koellerer 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-3, while seventh seed Tsonga saw off fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4.

Nadal will face 13th seed Gael Monfils in the last 16 after the Frenchman went through as Argentina's Jose Acasuso retired from their match trailing 6-3 6-4 1-0.

"I feel it a little bit now, but I'll try my best to recover for the next match," Nadal said of his injury. "I'm here to work hard and try my best all the time."


The Spaniard later refused to talk about the injury in his news conference, saying: "I am a little bit tired to talk about injuries. I am here to try my best every day.

"I won the match in three sets, so happy for that. I'm going to try my best next round. That's all. "

German veteran Nicolas Kiefer had given an inconsistent Nadal a thorough workout in the previous round and last year's semi-finalist got off to a stuttering start again.

After losing his first service game of the match, he broke back immediately but then allowed Almagro two break points when 6-5 up.

The six-time Grand Slam champion recovered both, the second with a sublime backhand that skipped out of his compatriot's reach, before serving out for the opener.

The pair traded breaks in the third and eighth games of the second before Almagro carelessly conceded his serve straight back in the ninth.

Nadal gratefully accepted before holding his own to move two sets clear, but was soon in trouble again.

He had already clawed back a break before a problem with his stomach area required medical assistance.

Almagro took the opportunity to get treatment on his back, but the possible recurrence of an abdominal injury Nadal first suffered in Cincinnati in August will be the subject of most of the post-match debate.

After edging ahead with a break in the fifth game, Nadal concentrated his efforts on supporting his weakened serve to secure victory.

Another of Nadal's countrymen, Juan Carlos Ferrero, benefited from Gilles Simon's injury problems as the French ninth seed bowed out of their contest early.

After losing the first set in 24 minutes, Ferrero was leading 1-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 1-0 when his opponent retired with a knee complaint, handing the Spaniard a place in the last 16 and a match against Del Potro.

Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, seeded 11th, eased past Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-4 6-4 and goes on to face Tsonga.

"I think he's very aggressive," Gonzalez said of Tsonga. "He serves really big, he has strong shots. We have to see who can makes more winners."

Marin Cilic, the 16th seed, defeated Denis Istomin 6-1 6-4 6-3 to set up a clash with Andy Murray, who beat Taylor Dent 6-3 6-2 6-2.

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see also
US Open day seven as it happened
06 Sep 09 |  Tennis
US Open photos - day seven
06 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Clijsters stuns Venus at US Open
07 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis

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India Today Nadal advances after injury scare - 8 hrs ago Injuries still worry Nadal - 9 hrs ago
Kuwait Times Injury fears follow Nadal into last 16 at US Open - 18 hrs ago
The News International Injury fears follow Nadal into quarters - 18 hrs ago
DAWN Group Nadal, Murray, Cilic through to last 16 in straight sets - 23 hrs ago