Nadal shows no mercy

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Merciless Rafael Nadal crushed Spanish compatriot Tommy Robredo, the shock conqueror of Roger Federer, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday to reach a fifth US Open semi-final.
The 12-time Grand Slam title winner will face Richard Gasquet for a place in Monday’s final after the French eighth seed clinched a rollercoaster 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 win over David Ferrer, the Spanish fourth seed.
World number two Nadal, the 2010 champion, took his hardcourt streak this year to 20-0 and his match record to an astonishing 58-3 with nine titles since his return in February after a seven-month injury layoff.
In a ruthless one hour, 40 minute demolition of Robredo, who had knocked out five-time champion Federer in the fourth round, the 27-year-old French Open champion took his perfect run of unbroken service games to 67 at the tournament.
He romped through the first set in just 22 minutes, allowing Robredo only five points, and was 2-0 up in the second before the 31-year-old got on the board.
Another break in the seventh game helped Nadal on his way to a two-set lead and breaks in the fifth and seventh games of the third helped put Robredo out of his misery.
It was the shortest US Open quarter-final since 1988, when Ivan Lendl beat Derrick Rostagno.
Nadal finished with 28 winners to Robredo’s 10 and didn’t give up a single break point as the world number two claimed an eighth win in eight meetings against his countryman, who has only won one set during that one-sided series.
“I am very happy to be in the semi-finals. I think I played my best tennis of this US Open. It’s good to feel better with every match,” said Nadal.
Gasquet, 27, whose only previous appearance in the last four at a major was at Wimbledon in 2007, is the first Frenchman to get to the semi-finals in New York since Cedric Pioline in 1999.
The victory was only his second in 10 meetings with Ferrer, a series which had also seen him claim just two sets out of 20.
Next up is Nadal, against whom he has lost all 10 meetings as a professional, although he did beat the great Spaniard in their junior days.
Gasquet had fought out the longest match of the tournament to see off Milos Raonic in the fourth round but showed no ill effects from that four-hour, 40-minute slugfest as he raced through the first two sets against Ferrer.
His majestic one-handed backhand was working overtime as Ferrer, a semi-finalist in 2007 and 2010, struggled.
But the 31-year-old Spaniard summoned up his trademark pugnacious instincts to claw his way back before Gasquet recovered with a crucial break in the sixth game of the decider when Ferrer double-faulted.
He took the match courtesy of a swinging forehand winner. In a tight contest, Gasquet finished with 52 winners to Ferrer’s 40 with the Frenchman collecting just five points more.
World number one Serena Williams, seeking her 17th Grand Slam title, leads a charge of 31-year-olds into Friday’s US Open semi-finals, all of them hoping to become the event’s oldest women’s champion.
Defending champion Williams faces Chinese fifth seed Li Na while Italy's 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta will meet second seed Victoria azarenka of Belarus at Arthur Ashe Stadium to determine the finalists for Sunday’s title showdown.
Williams, Li and Pennetta are all 31 and would surpass the current age mark of Australian Margaret Court.

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