Rafael Nadal advanced to the fourth round of the US Open for the 11th time with a routine straight-sets victory over qualifier Hyeon Chung.
The world No 2 returned to court after a four-day break, following his second-round walkover against an injured Thanasi Kokkinakis, and did not face a breakpoint as he defeated world No 170 Chung 6-3 6-4 6-2.
Three-time champion Nadal, who reached the semi-finals last year, will face either American 14th seedJohn Isneror 2014 championMarin Cilicin the last 16 on Monday.
Nadal had defeated Chung in their two previous meetings and never looked troubled by the 2018 Australian Open semi-finalist who has since battled with injuries.
Chung had already spent nearly 11 hours on the court during the first week, including saving a match point in a second-round win against Fernando Verdasco.
Nadal retired in last year’s semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro with a knee injury, but this time around appears set to once again challenge fellow favorites Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer for the title.
The Spaniard is also not wearing any tape around his knees, which have caused him injury troubles during his career.
“The tape is not working anymore,” Nadal said in his on-court interview.
“But I’m happy to be playing on the hardcourt. I’m trying to play a bit more aggressive. I’m happy to be in the fourth round one more time.
“Last year I had some tough matches and in the semi-final, I had to retire.
“This year I had to miss some tournaments, I’m not 25 anymore.
“You never know what’s better or worse, all that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. I just think day by day, try to practice and be ready for a tough match.”
Meanwhile, fellow SpaniardPablo Andujarreached the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time in his career after a 6-4 6-3 6-2 win against Alexander Bublik.