Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini move into US Open semi-finals

Rafael Nadal at the US Open
Rafael Nadal at the US Open

Rafael Nadal moved a step closer a fourth US Open title with a straight-sets, but far from straightforward, win over Diego Schwartzman in their quarter-final at Flushing Meadows, while Matteo Berrettini also progressed.

The world number two led 4-0 in the first set and 5-1 in the second, but Argentinian 20th seed Schwartzman came back to level both.

Nadal's forehand seemed to desert him at times and he required treatment on his left forearm, a worry given that injuries have already accounted for, or contributed to, the demise of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

As the last of the 'big three' still standing, Nadal knows he has a golden opportunity to take a huge step towards overhauling Federer's record of 20 grand slam titles.

He will be one behind the Swiss great, and three clear of Djokovic, if he completes the job here on Sunday.

And while at 38, Federer's chances of adding to his tally are surely waning, the 33-year-old Nadal, fitness permitting, will almost inevitably collect a 13th French Open title next year.

When Nadal raced two breaks ahead in the opening set, he could hardly have imagined it would take the best part of an hour to claim it. And the pattern was repeated in the second.

Nevertheless, Nadal wrapped up 6-4 7-5 6-2 victory to set up a semi-final against Italian 24th seed Matteo Berrettini.

"It was straight sets but a big challenge," Nadal said. "To see myself in the situation to lose both breaks in a row was tough.

"But I'm super happy with the way I accepted the challenge. Here I am, semi-finals, it means everything to me.

"Physically I'm fine. Today was a heavy day, big humidity, and I sweat a lot. I had some big moments at the end of the second set and beginning of the third, but the last few games I felt good again.

"Berrettini? I saw him play. He has big serves, big forehands, and is super confident. He makes big steps forward every week so it will be a big challenge. But now is the moment to keep going."

Berrettini betters Monfils

Earlier 23-year-old Berrettini beat 13th seed Gael Monfils in the match of the tournament so far, finally sealing victory in a fifth-set tiebreak, 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (5).

Berrettini needed five match points to fall over the line, having double-faulted with his first at 5-3 in the fifth.

It became a mental battle with an exhausted Monfils also double-faulting time after time at the climax.

His fifth double fault, in the tiebreaker, gave Berrettini two serves to win it, but Monfils passed him to haul one mini-break back, and the Italian netted the second.

But Berrettini came out on top in a brutal rally to bring up two more match points.

Matteo Berrettini defeated Gael Monfils in the US Open quarter-final
Matteo Berrettini defeated Gael Monfils in the US Open quarter-final

He was aced with the first, but when Monfils hit a service return long, Berrettini dropped to the floor on the baseline in disbelief.

Berrettini said: "Right now I can't remember any points, just the match point - and the double fault!

"I'd like to say congrats to Gael. When I was playing I was thinking it was one of the best matches I had ever seen. I was playing, but I was watching, too. I'm really happy.

"I was pretty lucky I had match points and he didn't have any. It's better to have them. I was a bit tight but you didn't see it.

"I'm really proud of myself. It's a great job for me, my team and my family."

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

1

Friday's racing preview

Keith Hamer makes Salute The Soldier his best bet for Friday and has a tip for every race at every meeting in the UK and Ireland.

2

Sporting Life Accumulator

The latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams across the three divisions enhanced to 22/1 by EFL title sponsors Sky Bet.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day3

Daily Nap: Rock on Tommy

David Ord is back in the nap hotseat on Friday and fancies Jim Goldie to win the William Hill Bronze Cup at Ayr.

Check out what's being backed with Sky Bet4

The Market Place

We round up the Sky Bet market movers and Price Boosts ahead of a busy day's action including Soto Sizzler into 2/1 from 9/2 at Newbury.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package5

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with our best bets and score predictions, including those involving Spurs and Man City.

Most Read

1

Friday's racing preview

Keith Hamer makes Salute The Soldier his best bet for Friday and has a tip for every race at every meeting in the UK and Ireland.

2

Sporting Life Accumulator

The latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams across the three divisions enhanced to 22/1 by EFL title sponsors Sky Bet.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day3

Daily Nap: Rock on Tommy

David Ord is back in the nap hotseat on Friday and fancies Jim Goldie to win the William Hill Bronze Cup at Ayr.

Check out what's being backed with Sky Bet4

The Market Place

We round up the Sky Bet market movers and Price Boosts ahead of a busy day's action including Soto Sizzler into 2/1 from 9/2 at Newbury.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package5

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with our best bets and score predictions, including those involving Spurs and Man City.

Racing Tips

Oli Bell picks out his strongest fancies this weekend

Oli Bell: Saturday Best Bets

It's Hey Jonesy for our pundit in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup and he has three other tips for Saturday's action.

Latest racing tips from around the major training centres

Catching Pigeons: Trust in Tregoning

Our top gossip column is back and expects two Marcus Tregoning-trained juveniles to run well on Saturday's card at Newbury.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day

Daily Nap: Rock on Tommy

David Ord is back in the nap hotseat on Friday and fancies Jim Goldie to win the William Hill Bronze Cup at Ayr.

Next Race Off

14:50 Chantilly
9
(8)
Lady Minx
J: M Barzalona
3
(9)
Forever Coco
J: L Bails
5
(7)
Kamran
J: C Lecoeuvre

Football Tips

Check out Sporting Life's preview of Southampton v Bournemouth in the Premier League

Friday night tips: Boufal to bag

Friday's Premier League game comes from St Mary's, where George Pitts expects an overdue goalscorer for hosts Southampton against Bournemouth.

Check out the latest Sporting Life Price Boost

Price Boost: Friday double

Sky Bet have enhanced the odds on a double on Friday's Premier League football, exclusively for Sporting Life readers.

Sporting Life Accumulator

The latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams across the three divisions enhanced to 22/1 by EFL title sponsors Sky Bet.