World No. 1 Spaniard Rafael Nadal advanced to the US Open tennis semi-finals with a clinical 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 rout of promising Russian teenager Andrey Rublev.
In a quarter-final match pitting a 15-time Grand Slam champion against an unseeded 19-year-old making his first appearance on a big stage, Nadal’s experience proved to be a decisive factor on Wednesday, reports Efe.
The Spaniard was rock-solid on both his return of serve and in the rallies, tracked down balls from sideline to sideline and expertly defended everything the Russian threw at him.
Even though most points involved baseline exchanges, Nadal committed just 20 unforced errors and struck 21 winners. But the mistakes piled up for Rublev, who committed 43 unforced errors — an average of nearly two per game.
The 31-year-old Spaniard also was coolly efficient on serve, getting broken just one time against a player with one of the best return games on the ATP Tour.
“It was a good match,” Nadal said in a post-match, on-court interview in Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Andrey was playing in his first quarter-final and he played with more mistakes than usual. It’s an important victory for me, winning past two matches in straight sets is very good news for me.”
Nadal is sure to face a much more experienced opponent in Friday’s semi-finals – either 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina or Swiss five-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland.
The Federer-Del Potro quarter-final showdown – a re-match of the 2009 US Open final, which the Argentine won – will take place Wednesday night.