Nadal advances to semis, Federer out Women's semifinals an all-American affair for first time since 1981
AGENCIES NEW YORK, 7th Sep: Rafael Nadal demolished Andrey Rublev on Wednesday to reach a sixth US Open semi-final. World number one Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, brushed aside Russian 19-year-old Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 97 minutes.
However, there is disappointing news for those awaiting the possibility of a Nadal-Roger Federer showdown in the semi-final as the Swiss Maestro went down to Juan Martin del Potro in four sets, losing the quarter-final match 5-7, 6-3, 6-7, 4-6. Nadal and del Potro will now face each other in the semi-final.
The women's semi-finals will be an all-American affair for the first time since 1981 after CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys set-up a last-four duel. Thursday's other tie will see seven-time major champion Venus Williams face Sloane Stephens.
The reigning French Open champion Nadal added that he might not watch all of the Federer-Del Potro match as it clashes with his dinner time. "We are from Spain and we always eat very late but of course I will be paying attention to it," Nadal said.
Rublev, bidding to be the youngest man in 17 years to reach the semi-finals, had no complaints over his loss. "He gave me a lesson: 1, 2, and 2," said the Russian, who lost 16 of the last 19 points of the opening set and finished with 43 unforced errors.
Del Potro had crushed Nadal in straight sets in the semi-finals of the US Open earlier. Del Potro, who saved two match points to defeat sixth seed Dominic Thiem in a fourth-round thriller on Monday, has been plagued by injury ever since his moment in the New York spotlight eight years ago. He has undergone four wrist surgeries, missed 10 Grand Slams and, at one stage last year, his world ranking slumped to 1,045.
Vandeweghe reached the semi-finals, knocking Karolina Pliskova off her world number one perch. American 20th seed Vandeweghe claimed a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over the Czech Republic's Pliskova, whose brief eight-week stay as world number one ends with Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza taking over.
Vandeweghe's victory means that the US Open will have an all-American semi-final line-up for the first time since 1981 after Keys defeated Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3. The last time four US women were in the semis was 36 years ago when eventual champion Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Barbara Potter all made it. Pliskova, who had to save a match point to beat China's Zhang Shuai in the second round, shrugged off losing her top spot.
Keys, the 15th seed, will be playing in her second Slam semi-final after the 2015 Australian Open. "It means the world to me," said Keys who underwent wrist surgery earlier this season. "If someone had said after Wimbledon I would be here now I wouldn't have believed them."
Kanepi, ranked 418 but a six-time quarter-finalist at the Slams, had battled back from crippling foot injuries and a debilitating virus that has limited her to just five events in 2017. She was unable to convert three break points in the third game of the opening set and there was no way back.