Rafael Nadal took advantage of an embarrassing collapse by No. 11 Fernando Gonzalez at the U.S. Open on Saturday to put away his rain-delayed quarterfinal 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-0.
Next up for Nadal is a semifinal on Sunday against No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro. Any concerns about Rafa and his sore abdominal muscles being overtaxed heading into a weekend made longer because of the rain have all but vanished.
Kind of like Gonzalez’s game.
A match that had been a taut, well-played affair got postponed on Thursday night with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second-set tiebreaker. They had to wait out an entire day of rain before coming back to the court to resume under overcast skies and temperatures in the 60s.
This was not more of the same.
Gonzalez opened the tiebreaker by spraying three forehands out, then pounded Nadal’s serve into the net on set point. He lost two more points to start the third set before finally getting on the board. But after dropping the first game, the Chilean chucked his racket toward his chair en route to the changeover.
It kept getting worse, and even a medical timeout to have tape cut off his ankles couldn’t stop this slide.
Final numbers: 59 unforced errors for Gonzalez, and Nadal won 31 of the 43 points played after the restart. The whole affair took 33 minutes to wrap up.
“Fernando had a few more mistakes than the last day,” Nadal said. “That helped me a little more.”