Unseeded Fish advances to quarters

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It's been an emotional few days for Mardy Fish. On Saturday night, he eliminated close friend James Blake in the third round of the US Open. As thrilled as he was to be in his first fourth round at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after playing for the first time during the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, it was somewhat painful knocking out a guy who will be a groomsman at Fish's wedding later this month.

"It's tough to figure out the perfect way to react to, have some respect for James as well as to kind of show how much I cared about that match, how nice of an opportunity it was for me," the unseeded American said. "I don't know how it came off, but I was certainly relieved to win."

Two days later, Fish was a winner again after beating France's Gael Monfils, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. He'll play No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. Fish and Andy Roddick are the only two American men remaining in the US Open draw.

"I desperately wanted to play well here," said Fish, who will marry "Deal or No Deal" model Stacey Gardner on Sept. 28. "Desperately."

After his match with Blake, Fish was clearly emotional. He was again Monday, but not quite for the same reasons. There was nothing but joy in those eyes after match point against Monfils.

"I was certainly happy," Fish said. "There were no tears, so I guess that was the sun. I was certainly elated to have beaten a tough opponent like that fairly quickly."

Nadal pushed to limit. The No. 1 men's player in the world hit a snag in an effort to win his first US Open title. He dropped a set and went to a tie break in another against Sam Querrey, but eventually came on to win, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.

"It was very difficult, especially after my big mistake in the second set," Nadal said. "I was playing normal, fine. Nothing special, but nothing bad."

The Spaniard is on the opposite side of the bracket from Roger Federer, whom he took the No. 1 ranking from after a classic Wimbledon final in June, one that people have called the best match of all time.

Federer has won four straight US Open titles.

Posted 6:37 pm, October 10, 2011
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