Rafael Nadal was overcome with pain after third-round victory at the US

Open, when he was overcome by pain from cramping in his right hamstring

and thigh, causing his aftermatch media conference to be cleared out.

Journalists were cleared out of the interview room while

the defending champion was given bags of ice to put on his leg and

water to drink.

After about 10 minutes Nadal told the anxious media: "I just have cramping in my leg. That's all."

The big-hitting Spaniard was in the middle of the Spanish language segment of his media debrief when he was struck with pain. He leaned back and put his

arm over his face.

"I just have cramping in front and behind," he said later. "Was so painful."

Earlier, Nadal overcame a blister on his right foot and two tight sets

to beat his good friend, 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-5, and

reach the fourth round.

The 76th-ranked Nalbandian went up a break in the fifth

game and served for the first set at 5-4, but he double-faulted on

break point. Then, at 3-all in the tiebreaker, Nalbandian

double-faulted again, helping the second-seeded Nadal nose ahead.

Nalbandian broke to begin the third set, but Nadal

broke right back to 1-1, then took an injury timeout after that game to

have his right foot taped because of the blister.

"Second set I think I played a very high level," Nadal

said during his news conference before the cramping. "Even if he was

beating me 4-2 and 5-4 on serve, I was very pleased about how I played

the first set, no? He was playing fantastic in my opinion at the


Nadal played far more cleanly and finished with only 18 unforced errors, 42 fewer than Nalbandian's total.

For a spot in the quarterfinals, Nadal will face 68th-ranked Gilles

Muller of Luxembourg, who hit 23 aces in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over

Igor Kunitsyn of Russia.