WHAT HAPPENED: For the opening week of the US Open, Andrey Rublev was the other blond teenager with the big game and future in men's tennis..
Twenty-four hours after Canadian 18-year-old sensation Denis Shapovalov exited in the fourth round, Rublev became the only one as he toppled No. 9 David Goffin, 7-5, 7-6, 6-3, on Monday to reach the quarterfinals.
The 19-year-old Russian teen is the youngest US Open quarterfinalist since Andy Roddick in 2001. This is his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
While Rublev has been overshadowed some by the high flying Shapovalov, he too has enjoyed a breakout summer campaign. He broke into the world Top 50 for the first time in July after winning at Umag as a lucky loser and sent No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov packing in the second round last week.
Goffin, who had an injury-marred season after hurting his ankle in a freak injury at the French Open, walked into the sun-drenched temporary Louis Armstrong Stadium with his left knee taped. As the match progressed, the injury appeared to become more bothersome for the 26-year-old Belgian.
He could not muster much power on his first serve, averaging just 95 mph for the match and eight aces. The injury also slowed Goffin's movement on the court, as several times he didn't even move for a shot.
Still, the match was a toss up through the first two sets.
In the opening set, there were just three break points. Goffin had the first in the 11th game but failed to convert. In the next game, Rublev was up 15-40 and two set points. Goffin saved the first with an ace, but Rublev, who has a big forehand, cracked a resounding winner off that side to take the set in 40 minutes.
Goffin, who was eyeing his career first quarterfinal spot at Flushing Meadows, raced to a 3-0 second set lead with service breaks in the first and third games. But, he could not hold the lead, dropping his serve in the fourth and sixth games to level the set at 3-3.
In the tiebreak, it was even at 5-5 when Goffin dropped his serve on a forehand error. Rublev claimed the tiebreak 7-5 with another forehand blast.
Rublev broke Goffin to begin the final set and never really was challenged, wrapping up the two-hour and five-minute match with yet another forehand winner.
For the match, Rublev had 48 winners, 21 off the forehand side.
WHAT IT MEANS: Rublev is the first Russian man into the quarterfinals since Mikhail Youzhny in 2013. Rublev is also the only unseeded man in the final eight. Ironicially it was Youzhny who was the last unseeded man in the semifinals in 2006.
But, to get there Rublev will have to topple world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. The two-time Open champion seems to be gaining momentum as he blew past Alexandr Dolgopolov with the loss of only seven games.
MATCH POINT: Playing Nadal will likely be Rublev's most significant match of his blossoming career and also on the biggest stage in tennis in Arthur Ashe stadium. Can he handle the situation?