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Nadal shakes off Schwartzman to enter US Open semis

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Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal. Text: US Open @ATP.

New York: Three-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday, but the Spaniard’s victory was anything but straightforward.

Nadal overcame a spirited effort from the No. 20 seed to win his eighth consecutive quarter-final in Flushing Meadows in what felt like a titanic battle, not a straight-sets win.

The legendary lefty earned double-break leads in each of the first two sets, but was unable to hang onto those on either occasion.sports news headlines

However, when it mattered most, Nadal maintained the more consistent level, advancing to his eighth semi-final in New York after two hours and 47 minutes.

The Spaniard has long been dominant in major quarter-finals, improving to 33-7 at this stage of Slams with five of those losses coming at the Australian Open.

He also owns a 33-match winning streak against Argentine opponents not named Juan Martin del Potro.

“Diego is playing unbelievable. I need to play my best in the next round to have the chance to be in that semi-finals,” Nadal said after his fourth-round victory. That prediction proved to be spot on.

Nadal crushed 35 winners and broke serve eight times to find a way to win against an opponent who refused to back down. Many times, Nadal’s unrelenting groundstrokes typically push players further behind the baseline as a match wears on.

But Schwartzman tried to go blow-for-blow with the second seed, playing aggressively whenever possible.

Berrettini outlasts Monfils, Andreescu advances to first Slam semis

Matteo Berrettini out-slugged French veteran Gael Monfils, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, in an instant classic that featured waves of momentum changes and left Monfils leaning on his racquet for reprieve.

Bianca Andreescu advanced to her first career major semifinal. The 19-year-old Canadian overcame an error-strewn first set and used her superior firepower to came back to beat No. 25 seed Elise Mertens, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.