Rafael Nadal and Alexandr Dolgopolov will meet in the fourth round of the 2017 US Open on Monday. For Dolgopolov, his appearance in the fourth round ends a lengthy drought for fourth-round appearances in Grand Slams. The Ukrainian last made this stage of a major way back in 2011, a match that he lost to Novak Djokovic.

At stake on Monday is a spot in the US Open quarterfinals and arguably a favorable draw at that stage. The winner between Nadal and Dolgopolov will face either Andrey Rublev or David Goffin in the quarterfinals. Those are two players, neither of which has ever won a quarterfinal in a major.

Nadal vs. Dolgopolov preview

The two players, Nadal and Dolgopolov, have met eight times over the years on the ATP tour. Dolgopolov doesn't have a terrible record against the Spaniard when one considers Nadal's career achievements. In those eight matches, Dolgopolov has defeated Nadal twice. One of the results came on the hard-court surface in a big venue.

Dolgopolov scored a win over Nadal at the 2014 Indian Wells Masters, taking that match by the minimum two points in a third-set tiebreaker. Dolgopolov also has a historical upset in the fourth round of a hard-court major. He defeated Robin Soderling in the 2011 Australian Open at a time when the Swedish player was a key player on the men's tour.

If Fognini and Pouille can beat Nadal..

The upcoming match is interesting because Dolgopolov is similar in talent to the two players that have defeated Nadal in the two most-recent US Opens. Fabio Fognini and Lucas Pouille were able to beat Nadal the last two seasons at Flushing Meadows. Both players defeated Nadal at about this stage of the tournament as well, Fognini taking the Spaniard out in the third round and Pouille winning a fourth-round match last year.

This is the kind of player that Nadal has actually had troubles with at Flushing Meadows. Arguably the Ukrainian is a little better than Fognini but perhaps not as talented as Pouille. When one keeps in mind that Nadal hasn't won a hard-court event since early 2014 then you have to wonder if he can win the US Open this year.

The Dolgopolov match is more than tricky - it may, in fact, be an open match.

The two players will meet in Arthur Ashe Stadium as part of the morning/afternoon session on Monday. The stadium's start time is 11 am ET with Karolina Pliskova featuring in the opening match. Nadal and Dolgopolov will follow, meaning that they are most likely to play in the early afternoon.