NEW YORK - Rafa Nadal, growing in confidence with each match, blasted his way into the fourth round of the US Open on Saturday with an ominous display as the upsets continued at the last grand slam of the year.
The world number two turned on a masterclass of power and precision as he brushed aside Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-3 6-3 to lead a trio of Spanish men into the fourth round.
French Open runner-up David Ferrer also moved through, beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4, while a third Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, ended the Cinderella run of British qualifier Dan Evans, winning 7-6 (6) 6-1 4-6 7-5.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and the 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova were among the high-profile casualties in a women's draw packed with surprises.
Four of the eight women already through to the fourth round are unseeded and three of the eight are Italian.
Camila Giorgi, who had to come through the qualifiers to reach the main draw, sent Wozniacki packing with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win on Arthur Ashe Stadium while Flavia Pennetta knocked out the former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 6-1. Roberta Vinci also won for Italy.
Nadal has been in great form in the past month, winning warm-up tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati. He has not dropped a single set in getting to the last 16 at Flushing Meadows and believes he is still improving.
"I played better today than in the previous matches. (That's) always a positive thing," he said.