DEFENDING CHAMPION RAFAEL Nadal has set up a semi-final showdown with Andy Murray at the US Open after coming through his clash with home favourite Andy Roddick in straight sets, 6-2 6-1 6-3.
Both men will return to the courts on Saturday – their third consecutive day of tennis – as the effects of rain delays earlier in the week continue to take their toil. Murray, for his part, needed a fourth set to dispatch of 28th seed John Isner (7-5 6-4 3-6 7-6) in a match that kept him in court for almost three and a half hours.
Nadal was in action for just under two hours and will be a little fresher when the pair clash in the last four stages. “I try my best,” the Spaniard said afterwards. “I don’t think about a short match for the quarter-finals. I think about trying to win the match.”
The results mean that the top four seeds will now battle for places in Monday’s final – the second time this has happened at a Grand Slam this year where Nadal and Roger Federer contested the final of the French Open after they beat Murray and Novak Djokovic respectively.
“I think they’re pretty firmly the best players in the world right now,” Roddick said after his comprehensive defeat. “They certainly deserve the numbers next to their names – they’re playing great.”
Nadal was in ominous form against Roddick and has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows. Roddick had two visits from the trainer on court in his match on Thursday but was never really given a chance to get a foothold in the quarter-final – his opponent recording 22 winners from his forehand side alone.
“I think I am playing well since the second round,” Nadal added to reporters after the match. “I’m very happy about this US Open. I will try my best to be in the final but even if I lose (in the semi-final), I am happy about my US Open. Wasn’t an easy situation for me coming to this tournament after having a not easy summer for me.”
Murray broke Isner once in the two opening sets of his semi-final before being pegged back to 2-1 in the third. The Scot then needed the help of a tie break to claim the fourth and booked his place in another Grand Slam final.
“I’m really happy to get through,” Murray told reporters. “He started serving very well as the match went on and it came down to a few points. I played really well, especially in the fourth-set tie-break. I went for my shots, served well and returned well.”
Speaking before the Nadal-Roddick quarter-final was decided, he added: “Three-and-a-half hours in that heat isn’t easy. Hopefully they (Nadal and Roddick) will have a long one too so both players are in same boat. I know I can win against either of them though. I beat Rafa here before and Andy will have huge support. Both will be pretty challenging.”
- Additional reporting Associated Press
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