NEW YORK — Tampa's Mardy Fish sealed this deal, reaching the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for the first time with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 32 seed Gael Monfils on Monday.
Playing in his ninth U.S. Open and coming off his upset over friend and fellow Tampa resident James Blake, Fish kept busy as his wedding approaches. He will marry Deal or No Deal model Stacey Gardner on Sept. 28 — she watched from his private box, minus her shiny No. 2 briefcase.
"I desperately wanted to play well here," Fish said. "Desperately."
Fish, 26, matched the best Grand Slam result of his career, having reached the quarters at the 2007 Australian Open. Ranked as high as No. 17 in 2004, Fish has worked for three years to recover from an injured wrist that required extensive surgery.
He next faces No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal, who defeated Sam Querrey 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.
Against Monfils, Fish was in command the whole way despite putting less than half of his first serves in play. He rushed the net at almost every opportunity, pressured Monfils — playing on his 22nd birthday — and won many points with overhead slams.
"I knew I had to keep the points short," Fish said. "I'm never, ever going to beat someone like that from the baseline."
As for Fish's take on facing Nadal?
"I feel like a guy with my style of play is someone that he doesn't want to see," said Fish, who won the point on 45 of 69 trips to the net. "You've got to be able to finish points quickly. He's going to last longer than anybody. He wants to keep the points as long as possible and run the guys down, kind of body blow after body blow."
On the women's side, an all-Williams sister quarterfinal was set up as Venus and Serena Williams won in straight sets.
"It's so soon," Serena said of meeting Venus at this stage instead of a final, as they did at Wimbledon. "You know, it's just disappointing to be so soon."
Both advanced through the fourth round without a challenge. Venus, the No. 7 seed, dismissed No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-3, before No. 4 Serena dispatched wild-card entrant Severine Bremond 6-2, 6-2.
Also advancing were No. 6 Dinara Safina, who defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-5, 6-0, and No. 16 Flavia Pennetta, who topped No. 32 Amelie Mauresmo 6-3, 6-0.
Nadal held off the 55th-ranked Querrey, a 20-year-old Californian who had never been to the fourth round at a major. Querrey hung in during extended baseline rallies and even briefly led in the third set.
Nadal owns four titles from the French Open and one from Wimbledon, but he has never reached the U.S. Open semifinals.
Also advancing was No. 17 Juan Martin del Potro, who ended the run of Kei Nishikori, the first Japanese man to reach the U.S. Open's fourth round in the 40-year Open era. Del Potro won the contest between teenagers 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 for his 23rd consecutive victory.
"I think I get more confidence from this week," said Nishikori, 18, who was in his second Grand Slam and is ranked No. 126.
Del Potro, 19, next faces No. 6 Andy Murray, who beat No. 10 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.