Rafael Nadal has the next generation in his path to a much-hyped meeting with Roger Federer at the US Open.

The world No.1 found his form at Flushing Meadows after a couple of shaky performances to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2 6-4 6-1 and reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2013.

If he can defeat Andrey Rublev, and Federer keeps up his end of the bargain, there will be a first clash between the two rivals in New York.

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Rublev is the most surprising of the quarter-finalists and, at 19, the youngest man to reach this stage at the US Open since Andy Roddick 16 years ago.

The Russian has been overshadowed by the likes of Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov, but is the first of the next generation to make the last eight at a slam.

Rublev knocked out his second top-10 seed but was helped by David Goffin’s knee injury, the ninth seed struggling on serve as his teenage opponent wrapped up a 7-5 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 victory.

Rublev grew up idolising Nadal, along with countryman Marat Safin, and said: “Rafa’s the real champion. I’m just going to try to enjoy, I have nothing to lose.”

Nadal does not buy that approach, saying: “Of course he’s young but, at the same time, he’s in the quarter-finals. He has a chance to be in the semi-finals for the first time in his career, and I have been there a couple of times.

“So of course he has things to lose. And of course I have things to lose and things to win. But this sport is about victory. This is not about defeats. At the end of your career, nobody remembers the defeats.

“Of course he’s young, and when you are young you feel that everything is new. But he already won a lot of matches on the tour. He’s not a kid that he came now in this event.”

Nadal would not swap his career, of course, but he does envy Rublev’s youth.

“If I can come back to 19, I take it,” he said with a smile. “That’s the best part because normally you have a lot more years to enjoy the tour, a lot more years to enjoy life.

“Of course, it’s better to be 19 than 31. I always wanted to be young. Even when I was eight years old, I was not very happy when it was my birthday. It’s still the same.

“I am happy being young. I don’t want to get older. For the moment, I didn’t find the way to stop that watch.”

Carreno Busta will next face Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, who followed up his victory over Marin Cilic by defeating 16th seed Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 2-6 6-2.

At 5ft 7in, Schwartzman is the smallest man to reach the quarter-finals in singles at a grand slam since Jaime Yzaga here in 1994.

South African Kevin Anderson is through to the quarter-finals for the second time in three years after beating Paolo Lorenzi 6-4 6-3 6-7 (4/7) 6-4.

Anderson will now take on American Sam Querrey, the only player in the bottom half of the draw to have reached a grand slam semi-final before.

Meanwhile, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares continued the defence of their men’s doubles title at the US Open by defeating Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner in the second round.

The British-Brazilian partnership won their second grand slam 
crown in New York 12 months ago and have made smooth progress 
so far.