US Open talking points - Nadal crashes out to Pouille

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Distraught: Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal crashed out of the US Open as the Spaniard lost a five-set thriller to France’s Lucas Pouille in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal saved three match points in a pulsating final-set tie-break, but could not avert the fourth as Pouille triumphed 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8/6).

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the second successive year on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2 victory over American Jack Sock.

The ninth seed from France fired 54 winners to oust 26th-seeded Sock, the lone remaining US man in the field.

Three years ago and aged just 23, Anastasija Sevastova was so depressed by her tennis career that she quit, left her native Latvia and moved to Austria to study leisure management.

But at the US Open, she has become the latest woman to find success in her second life on the courts, unable to resist the call of competition, the lure of the lights and the security of the big paydays.

NADAL CRASHES OUT TO POUILLE

14-time major champion Rafael Nadal has now failed to go past the fourth round in his last five grand slams, while Pouille advances to meet fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals.

Nadal led by 4-2 and a break in the deciding set in Arthur Ashe Stadium but Pouille broke back, winning four out of the next six games to force a tie-break.

The 22-year-old then pulled 6-3 clear to open up three match points but, while Nadal saved them all, he then missed a simple forehand and Pouille pounced to snatch a momentous victory.

“It took everything,” Pouille said on court afterwards.

“It is my first match on the centre court against Rafa. I couldn’t dream better than this.”

TSONGA ELIMINATES LAST US MAN STANDING

The ninth seed from France fired 54 winners to oust 26th-seeded Sock, the lone remaining US man in the field.

In match pitting two players with fearsome forehands, Tsonga boasted the deadlier precision, although Sock didn’t go quietly, saving a match point in the third-set tiebreaker to force the deciding fourth set.

Once he had, however, 2008 Australian Open runner-up Tsonga reasserted himself, powering to a 5-2, 40-0 lead.

The Frenchman had a little hiccup with a double fault before belting an unreturnable serve to close it out.

SEVASTOVA’S RETURN GOING WELL

On Sunday, the 26-year-old became the first Latvian woman in 22 years to reach the last-eight of a Grand Slam.

It’s a long way from when she stepped off the circuit in May 2013 until January 2015, opting to study instead.

“It was some accounting, some management, marketing; I had some exams. I passed and it was easy at some point,” she recalled after seeing off Johanna Konta of Britain to reach the US Open quarter-finals.

“But at some point I said, OK, I will try tennis again. So I had to stop.”

Her ranking had slumped to 181 by the end of 2012, but her surprise success in New York, where she has already knocked out French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, will comfortably see her improve on her current standing of 48.

“It’s been a bumpy road. I didn’t expect to be here at this point of my life after retiring,” she said.

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Today's US Open five to watch & predictions

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Big stars on show.

Which matches are you most looking forward to seeing on day eight and who do you think will progress to the quarter-finals from our picks?

Have your say and share with us your predictions by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA) vs YARASLOVA SHVEDOVA (KAZ)

SERENA (USA) vs SHVEDOVA (KAZ)

  • 1 - WORLD RANKING - 52
  • 4 - HEAD TO HEAD - 0
  • 71 - CAREER TITLES - 1
  • 36-5 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 19-19

Serena takes on the big-serving Kazakh for a place in the quarters.

Serena has lost just three US Open matches since 2008.

She’s back in great form and will likely prove too much to handle.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Serena in two.

SIMONA HALEP (ROUx5) vs SUAREZ NAVARRO (ESPx11)

Share a long history of tight battles, with seven of their 10 encounters going to a final set.

Suarez Navarro won their most recent clash, on clay in Rome 2015, and both are in good form in New York.

Halep is stronger at the majors though.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Halep in three.

VENUS WILLIAMS (USAx6) vs KAROLINA PLISKOVA (CZEx10)

VENUS (USAx6) vs PLISKOVA (CZEx10)

  • 6 - WORLD RANKING - 11
  • 1 - HEAD TO HEAD - 0
  • 49 - CAREER TITLES - 6
  • 24-11 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 36-16

Pliskova’s on an eight-match winning streak and into the second week of a slam for the first time.

She beat three top-10 players en route to the Cincinnati title last month.

Venus is searching for second straight US Open quarter-final.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Pliskova in two.

ANDY MURRAY (GBRx2) vs GRIGOR DIMITROV (BULx22)

Murray lost just three of his last 43 matches.

The reigning Wimbledon and Olympic champion lost his most recent meeting with Dimitrov, during a brief slump in Miami.

Meanwhile, Dimitrov looks like he’s finally past his 2016 woes.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Murray in four.

DOMINIC THIEM (AUTx8) vs JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO (ARG)

THIEM (AUTx8) vs DEL POTRO (ARG)

  • 10 - WORLD RANKING - 142
  • 0 - HEAD TO HEAD - 1
  • 7 - CAREER TITLES - 18
  • 52-16 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 21-9

Two of the nicest guys on tour face-off, although Del Potro has the tennis world rooting for him during his comeback from wrist surgeries.

Del Potro hasn’t dropped a set yet in New York while Thiem has fought through 12 sets already.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Del Potro in four.

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There are some big names in action today.

Which matches are you most looking forward to seeing on day seven and who do you think will progress to the last 16 from our picks?

Have your say and share with us your predictions by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SER) vs KYLE EDMUND (GBR)

DJOKOVIC vs EDMUND

  • 1 - WORLD RANKING - 84
  • 1 - HEAD TO HEAD - 0
  • 66 - CAREER TITLES - 0
  • 54-5 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 15-14

The Serb got a walkover against Jiri Vesely before his match against Mikhail Youzhny lasted just 32 minutes before his opponent withdrew.

The Serb will be fresh for this encounter and Edmund is unlikely to stand a chance.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Djokovic in straights.

RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) vs LUCAS POUILLE (FRA)

Nadal looked in top shape during his win against Kuznetsov.

He is in the second week of the US Open for the first time in three years and will fancy his chances against Pouille who had to fight for five sets against Bautista Agut.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Nadal in straights.

PETRA KVITOVÁ (CZE) vs ANGELIQUE KERBER (GER)

KVITOVA vs KERBER

  • 16 - WORLD RANKING - 2
  • 4 - HEAD TO HEAD - 4
  • 17 - CAREER TITLES - 9
  • 29-16 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 50-14

Kerber was just too good for 17-year-old Cici Bellis as she registered a 6-1, 6-1 win.

Kvitova too enters the match on the back of a straight sets win.

Tough to take a pick but Kerber should take this one, just about.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Kerber in three.

MADISON KEYS (USA) vs CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (DEN)

Keys pulled off the greatest comeback win of her career as she beat Naomi Osaka despite being 5-1 down in the final set.

She will need to dig deep against Wozniacki, who is on a roll at Flushing Meadows.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Wozniacki in three.

JOHANNA KONTA (GBR) vs ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA (LAT)

KONTA vs SEVASTOVA

  • 14 - WORLD RANKING - 48
  • 1 - HEAD TO HEAD - 0
  • 1 - CAREER TITLES - 1
  • 35-18 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 34-21

Konta must be feeling confident after her straight sets win over Bencic.

But her opponent Sevastova is having a stunning tournament, having beaten No. 3 seed Muguruza.

Expect the Latvian to win a tough fight.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Sevastova in three.

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