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Rafael Nadal def Andrey Rublev 61 62 62
Finally! One-way traffic for Rafael Nadal at this year’s US Open. While he enjoyed a straight-forward win over Alexandr Dolgopolov in the previous round, Rafa’s first three matches left his team scratching their heads. Dusan Lajovic took him to a first-set tie-break, Taro Daniel took set-1 6-4, and Leonardo Mayer fought-off 14 break points before Rafa finally broke through.
Aside from a slow start on Wednesday, Rafa was nearly flawless against his 19-year-old opponent. After giving up a break in his first service game, Rublev managed to break back to keep set-1 on serve before the changeover. Though he would get three more chances, it was Andrey’s only break during a lop-sided, 96-minute affair dominated by the 15-time Major Champion. Not surprisingly, unforced errors were the key. Nadal minimized mistakes with just 20. Rublev clocked-in with 43 by the end of the match.
Andrey Rublev. A future face of the sport
You have to cut Rublev some slack. He’s 19. It was his first time on the sport’s biggest stage. He faced a World #1, 2-time Gold Medalist, and 15-time Grand Slam Champion. Not to mention, he’d already showcased his budding talent and remarkable poise through four rounds of upsets to reach his first Major Quarterfinal. Not bad, considering this year’s US Open was only his fifth career Grand Slam main-draw appearance.
In the 2nd-Round, Rublev upended World #9 Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. In the Round of 16, he won two clutch tiebreak sets over World #14 David Goffin, before easily dispatching the savvy veteran in the third. The kid’s potential is limitless. A Quarterfinal shellacking is simply part of NEXT GEN training and preparation.
Rafael Nadal. Back in the US Open Semifinals
With the victory, 2-time US Open Champion Rafael Nadal will now compete in his 6th US Open Semifinal; his 26th career Grand Slam Semifinal overall. Ridiculous numbers. He’ll get the winner of the remaining Quarterfinal – tonight’s Prime Time rematch of the 2009 US Open Final featuring Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro. As beloved as Delpo is by fans and broadcasters alike, most are rooting for the Fed-Rafa matchup come Friday. Oddly enough, Rafa and Roger have played 37 times in their career, but not once have they played at the US Open.