NEW YORK -- Roger Federer had already departed the tournament in a shocking fourth-round loss, and now his fabulous foil, Rafael Nadal was a struggling against Philipp Kohlschreiber. You could feel the air rushing out of this 2013 US Open.
When the No. 2 seed lost a first-set tiebreaker to the No. 22-seeded German, panic ensued.
Not to worry, it was just Rafa being Rafa. In typical methodical fashion, he chased down Kohlschreiber and won going away, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. The match went 3 hours, 12 minutes.
Nadal continues to be the only man in the draw who hasn't had his serve broken. He hit 19 more winners than unforced errors and was much cleaner than Kohlschreiber, who was only plus-2.
"For me it's just amazing to have this win on Arthur Ashe for this crowd," Nadal said. "In conditions like today, to lose the first set is very difficult."
And now, instead of another anticipated match with Federer -- which would have been their very first here in New York -- it's Nadal against countryman Tommy Robredo, who escorted Federer from the grounds in straight sets.
Nadal, who took the court knowing Robredo was winning, said he didn't know the outcome in his on-court interview. He seemed happy when told it was Robredo.
"We'll he's [Robredo] playing great," Nadal said. "He's in a similar situation coming back from an injury like me [a leg issue]. Today, winning against Roger in the US Open, he will come to my match with great confidence. I will have to play my best."
Three of the four players in the quarterfinals in the bottom half of the draw are Spaniards.
Ferrer: Eight enough?
On a day where so many favored players struggled, No. 4 seed David Ferrer found a way to survive and advance.
The 31-year-old Spaniard defeated No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).
Both players managed five breaks of serve, but Ferrer won the fourth-set tiebreaker and advanced to his eighth consecutive major quarterfinal, a remarkably consistent run. Two years ago, Andy Roddick beat him here in the fourth round.
The terrific match required 4 hours, 40 minutes -- the longest of the tournament.
Raonic cracked 39 aces, the third-highest total in US Open history. He had 102 winners and 80 unforced errors. Gasquet was a more modest (and restrained) 45 and 36.
In 36 career Grand Slam events, Gasquet has now reached the quarterfinals twice. He was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2007.
The bottom half of the women's draw is still a work in progress.
That's because rain visited the Billie Jean King Nation Tennis Center on Monday and ruined the day session with a 4-hour, 30-minute delay. As a result, No. 2-seeded Victoria Azarenka's match with No. 13 Ana Ivanovic was moved to Tuesday.
The other three matches were completed, however, and we're looking at an all-Italian quarterfinal between No. 10 Roberta Vinci and unseeded Flavia Pennetta. Vinci defeated another Italian, Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 6-2. Pennetta sent home No. 21 seed Simona Halep 6-2, 7-6 (3).
The 14-year professional, who turned 30 in April, said it was the best she's served in 11 years. That would coincide with her last (and only) quarters appearance here, in 2002. Only two players who reached the Elite Eight back then are still alive here: Hantuchova and Serena Williams.
Four of Hantuchova's past six events here ended after the first round.