Nadal edges closer to first U.S. Open final

Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:53am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For the third year in a row, Rafa Nadal is through to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open. The one title he needs to complete his grand slam collection is now tantalizingly close.

Nadal booked his place in the last four by thrashing his fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-3 6-4 on Thursday. The pair are supposedly great friends, so pity Nadal's enemies.

The world number one has never made it to the final at Flushing Meadows before, more often a victim of the hardcourts than his rivals, but it only seems a matter of time.

The prospect of the ultimate grand slam final is looming larger than ever. Nadal and Roger Federer have already played each other in the finals at Wimbledon, Australia and Paris but never in New York.

The pair still need to win their semi-finals on Saturday but it will take a monumental performance to stop either of them.

"I think that he will play the final against Roger," Verdasco said. "It's gonna be a tough match, because I think Roger plays really good in these conditions. It's gonna be a very tough final for Rafa if he plays against Roger."

Nadal's next opponent is Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, the only player left in the men's draw not ranked in the top three. The 12th seed earned his place in the semis the hard way, beating Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 3-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-3 on Thursday.

SWIRLING WINDS   Continued...

<p>Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory against compatriot Fernando Verdasco during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 9, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</p>