Rafael Nadal remains on court for a fourth US Open title after subduing the challenge of 20th seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.
Nadal beat the Argentine in straight sets on Wednesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, yet required almost three hours to do so.
The 6-4 7-5 6-2 win moves the second set into a semifinal clash with Matteo Berrettini, after the Italian beat Gael Monfils in five sets to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal.
“I saw him play, he’s hitting huge. Big serves, big forehands, moving well, and super confident. He’s a player who is making big steps forward every week,” Nadal said on court.
“But this match give me some confidence … I needed two matches like against (Marin) Cilic (in the fourth round), today again. Both victories are so important for me and now is the moment to keep going.
“I hope to be my 100 per cent for that semifinal, because I will need it.”
Who will win the #USOpen men's singles title?
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Nadal built leads of 4-0 in the first set and 5-1 in the second before the diminutive Schwartzman battled his way back, thrilling the fans at Flushing Meadows with his court coverage and shotmaking.
Yet Nadal ultimately had too many weapons, his superior weight and pace of shot helping him notch 35 winners to Schwartzman’s 26 throughout the physical encounter in humid New York — during which Nadal required a visit from the trainer to take some salt tablets.
Streaking to a 5-2 lead in the third set, there was to be no let-up from the world No.2 this time, who closed out victory in two hours and 46 minutes.
With the win, Nadal improved to 22-2 at the majors in 2019.
|US Open||Semifinalist … for now.|
“Straight sets but big challenge, no? Especially after the first two sets, having 4-0 and 5-1 in the second, and see myself in the situation that I lost both breaks in a row. Have been a tough situation but I know how good is him. When he is under confidence it’s very difficult to stop,” Nadal reflected on court.
“I had some mistakes of course, to lose two breaks in a row, but anyway, super happy the way I accepted the situation, I accepted the challenge and I just keep going point by point. And finally here I am, semifinals, that super important, it means everything.
“Today was a very heavy day, big humidity out here. I’m this kind of player that I sweat a little bit (laughter). Sometimes under these conditions it’s tough.
“A little bit of everything. Little bit of the irritation, a little bit of nerves, I take some salts and here I am.”
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