Nadal headlines Spanish surge at U.S. Open
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top-seeded Rafa Nadal led a conquering Spanish armada at the U.S. Open by taking his place in the fourth round along with four compatriots on Sunday.
Nadal defeated France's Gilles Simon 6-4 6-4 6-2 in a victory that ensured Spain a Flushing Meadows semi-finalist and a continuation of a brilliant sporting year for the country after a World Cup soccer triumph and Tour de France victory.
All four round-of-16 slots in the upper quarter of the draw are filled by Spaniards with Nadal and Feliciano Lopez playing for one quarter-final berth, and 10th seed David Ferrer and eighth seed Fernando Verdasco contesting the other.
They were joined into the fourth round by Tommy Robredo, who continued his charmed run when he advanced for the second successive time on the retirement of his opponent.
Robredo was leading 3-6 7-6 6-4 2-1 when Michael Llodra of France called it a day.
"Already one Spanish player going to be in semifinals," Nadal said. "That is positive news for us."
On the other half of the draw, 21st seed Albert Montanes had already advanced to a match against Sweden's fifth-seeded Robin Soderling for a place in the quarter-finals -- giving Spain six of the last 16 men's players left in the U.S. Open.
"It's always nice to see all the Spanish winning and being in the last rounds," said Verdasco, who advanced with a four-set win over Argentine David Nalbandian. Continued...