Rafael Nadal denied fellow-Spaniard Tommy Robredo any chance to produce a second-straight upset as he took apart the conqueror of Roger Federer for the loss of just four games in their U.S. Open quarterfinal. Whereas an error-strewn performance from Federer had allowed Robredo to gain his first win over the Swiss great in the last round, the 31-year-old never looked like improving on his 6-0 losing record against another of the game’s all-time greats. Nadal, who maintained his record of not losing his serve in this final Grand Slam of the year, won 6-0, 6-2, 5-2 in just an hour and 40 minutes.
"I think I played my best match of the U.S. Open this year," Nadal, who will now meet Richard Gasquet in the semifinals, said afterwards. "It gives me a lot of positive energy."
The first set had taken just 22 minutes to complete. After dropping the first set to Philipp Kohlschreiber in round four, Nadal was imperious from the off in this last eight matchup. The second seed was ruthless from the back of the court, giving Robredo just three unforced errors, while also displaying the extra aggressiveness that he has added to his hard-court game this summer. Meanwhile, his opponent was struggling to merely produce his trademark consistency that was required to even make the match competitive.
Nadal, who has gone unbeaten in 20 matches on hard courts this year, went an early break up to start the second set too. There was a predictably massive cheer form the crown on Arthur Ashe Stadium when Robredo finally got on the scoreboard to reduce his arrears to 2-1. But he never looked like preventing Nadal’s march, with Robredo registering just two winners in the first two sets.
With the match effectively over heading into the third, there was more spark from Robredo’s side of the court and some entertaining exchanges for the fans to cheer. The former world No. 5 has battled back from injury this year and he showed more fight to hold serve for the first three games of the third set. Yet, Nadal was in no mood to be unduly halted as he looked to conserve energy in his efforts to claim a second title at Flushing Meadows and broke Robredo twice more before serving out the victory.
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Nadal now goes onto play another man who he is undefeated against, at least in the pro ranks. Gasquet, who grabbed his second consecutive five-set win with victory over David Ferrer, pointed out with a smile that he had once got the better of Nadal in an under-14 tournament. Nadal explained that he was looking forward to the contest with his fellow 27-year-old.
“He's a nice guy, very nice person, one of the players on the tour that I feel closer because we are from the same age,” he said. “When you see a player like Richard that we grow up in, you know, similar ways and we played when we were kids. Today we have the chance to be in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, so is great. Is a great thing for both of us, so very happy.”