Unstoppable Rafael Nadal won his 20th straight hardcourt match to storm into the semifinals of the U.S. Open, showing no mercy to Tommy Robredo in a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 beatdown on Wednesday.
Nadal, who came to the court without having been broken in 56 games at the New York grand slam, needed just 22 minutes in the first set to start his rout against his fellow Spaniard against whom he now stands 7-0.
Robredo showed none of the form which took him to a fourth-round straight-sets win over Roger Federer as he played in his seventh quarterfinal at a major -- all without reaching the semis. Nadal is now 17-2 versus his countrymen at grand slams.
Nadal takes a 10-0 record into his next match with Richard Gasquet, who upset Spain’s fourth seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 for a second five-set win in three days.
“I played the best match of the tournament,” said Nadal, seeded second. “I’m playing better every day, I have a lot of positive energy.
“Conditions were not so heavy on court like in previous (humid) days. It was easier for the players. I’m very happy to be in another semifinal.” Gasquet rode a roller-coaster against noted Spanish scrambler Ferrer, winning the first two sets, dropping the next two and finally earning a break in the fifth set on a doublefault to pave the way to victory.
“Even if I was leading two sets to love I knew it was David Ferrer. I knew he’s a big fighter so I knew it was not over,” said the eighth-seeded winner. “I knew I was so close to win this match.
“I fought a lot to finish. Especially at 5-3 (final set) I was a little bit nervous to go in the semis of US Open. But I managed to do it, it’s a big victory for me.” Gasquet has never beaten Nadal in ten ATP attempts and played his last semi at a major at Wimbledon, 2007. “I’m in semis in US Open, I want to do the best I can do.” Gasquet battled to hold onto a two-set-to-love lead for two and a half hours as noted comeback king Ferrer did his best to complete a dramatic trademark fightback.
But a final-set break for 4-2 in the French seed’s favour on a Ferrer double-fault paved the way for victory, with Gasquet unleashing a forehand winner into the corner on first match point to complete his win.
“For sure this was a big match for me,” said Gasquet, who struck 52 winners and 49 unforced errors, breaking six times from 14 chances. “The last game was amazing for me, it’s wonderful to be in the semis.” Fourth seed Ferrer held an 8-1 career advantage over Gasquet going into their contest, with the loss keeping the Spaniard from his second straight New York semifinal.
In the women’s quarters, Flavia Pennetta won an all-Italian match, beating 10th seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-1 to reach her first semifinal at the event. The WTA number 83 will play next against 2012 finalist Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-3 for her 30th hardcourt win of the season against just one loss.
Pennetta stood 166th before Wimbledon but has steadily been improving her standing. She was playing her fourth career quarterfinal in New York.
The winner had to deal with windy conditions in a match featuring five breaks of serve before she advanced by winning a second set lasting just 24 minutes.
“I’m proud of myself, I’m 31, and physically I feel good finally.
I’m in the first semifinal of a grand slam. There is nothing to say more,” said Pennetta.