Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Andrey Rublev, of Russia.
Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Andrey Rublev, of Russia. Adam Hunger

Nadal keeps his part of the bargain at US Open

YOUR turn, Roger. Rafael Nadal made quick work of 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev in a 6-1 6-2 6-2 carnage in the US Open quarterfinals.

Coming in as the No. 1 seed, Nadal has now made his sixth US Open semi-final.

The surging Spanish left-hander waits for Roger Federer to join him for Saturday's semi-finals in a potentially historic meeting. The epic rivals have never squared off at Flushing Meadows.

Federer faces his old friend Juan Martin del Potro at 10.15am AEST nearly eight years after the Argentine ended the Swiss Maestro's run of five straight Open titles.


Nadal celebrates after seeing off his teenage challenger.
Nadal celebrates after seeing off his teenage challenger.

"It's strange we never played here,'' Nadal said in his post-match on-court interview. "We've played in all the important events in the world. We missed it (here). It would be much more special if that can happen in the final (so) we'll try to come back next year and make that happen.''

Nadal smiled when asked what he'll do in the evening. "I'm going to be having dinner, probably,'' Nadal said, laughing. "Of course it is match I want to see. Two great players. It will be very difficult.''

He provided more laughs in his press conference when asked what he admired most about Federer the man. "I don't want to look like I gonna be his boyfriend, no?" Nadal joked. "We don't want to talk these kind of things before important match."


Nadal returns a shot to Andrey Rublev
Nadal returns a shot to Andrey Rublev Jason Decrow

If they do meet, the 31-year-old Nadal, will be well-rested. His last two matches - including his fourth-round, straight-setter over Alexandr Dolgopolov - were cakewalks. Nadal needed one hour, 36 minutes to dispatch Rublev, who showed he's not quite ready for the grand stage. He got to this point with upsets over David Goffin and Grigor Dmitrov but he couldn't hold his serve against Nadal.

"First quarterfinal, he made more mistakes than usual,'' Nadal said.

Nadal broke him seven times in the match. Rublev won just 37 of 82 of his service points. Nadal broke him in the match's second game to go up 2-0 and Rublev couldn't stop the Spaniard's spree. Rublev's service placement was nowhere up to standard and he seemed nervous, over-hitting balls. In the third set, Rublev even got called for a foot fault.


Andrey Rublev watches the ball during his match with Rafael Nadal.
Andrey Rublev watches the ball during his match with Rafael Nadal. Adam Hunger

At last year's Open, Federer was home in Switzerland, rehabbing from knee surgery, while Nadal got bounced out unceremoniously in the fourth round by obscure Frenchmen Lucas Pouille.

Rublev became the youngest Open quarterfinalist since Andy Roddick in 2001. Nadal was shocked to find out his opponent's age a few days ago, but experience won out. On match point, Rublev hit a harmless backhand into the net.

Federer has gotten the best of Nadal this year, rallying from 1-3 down in the fifth set at the Australian Open to win the title, then routing him on big hardcourt stages in Indian Wells and Miami in the spring. Nadal leads the all-time series 23-14 and owns a 9-3 edge in grand slam events over Federer.

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