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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:56 UK

Nadal finishes Gonzalez with ease

US OPEN
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 31 August - 14 September
BBC coverage: Live text commentaries on the website from 1600 BST each day, regular updates on 5 live, full commentary on 5 live sports extra in week two, both finals on 5 live. Live on Sky Sports and Eurosport.


Rafael Nadal
Nadal will have played for four days out of five if he wins the title

World number three Rafael Nadal took just 34 minutes to complete a rain-delayed win over Fernando Gonzalez and reach the semi-finals of the US Open.

Nadal resumed leading by a set and 3-2 in the tie-break, and he won four straight points for a two-set lead.

The Spaniard then raced away to a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 victory.

The match had been delayed from Thursday, with Friday's play washed out, and Nadal goes on to face Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday.

With the men's final rescheduled for Monday because of the rain, Nadal will be delighted to have finished his quarter-final in the quickest possible manner.

And he showed no sign of the right abdominal muscle strain he had aggravated in the third round and that required treatment during the match on Friday.

He's a very good player, very solid from the baseline and now his serving is unbelievable

Nadal on Del Potro

"Lucky for me," Nadal said afterwards. "It was important to have one day off to get better for today.

"I played well, that's very important as well, and Fernando had more mistakes than the last day and that helped me a little bit more."

Asked to explain his disintegration, Gonzalez said: "I can't tell you, because I don't have the answer."

Nadal had battled his way into a good position on Friday by saving two set points in the first before taking the tie-break, and moving ahead on serve in the second tie-break.

Both men were looking for a fast start when play resumed on Saturday, but Gonzalez missed three successive forehands as he fell two sets down within three minutes.

And it got worse for the Chilean as he double-faulted twice to hand over a break at the start of the third, smashing his racquet in frustration.

The match was all but over as a contest, with only the constant threat of rain a worry for Nadal, especially when Gonzalez took a timeout to get some strapping changed o his foot.

606: DEBATE
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It made no difference, however, as the rain held off and Nadal swept to victory with a love set, and he will return for Sunday's semi-final having wasted little energy."He's a very good player, very solid from the baseline and now his serving is unbelievable," Nadal said of Del Potro.

"So I know I have to play my best match here if I want to have a chance to win and that's what I'll try to do."

On Friday, sixth seed Del Potro came back from a set and a break down to defeat Croatian Marin Cilic and reach his first US Open semi-final.

Cilic, conqueror of Andy Murray in round four, made a fine start to his first Grand Slam quarter-final, but Del Potro broke in game six of the second set and never looked back, coming through 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1.

Del Potro will go into his first US Open semi-final in buoyant mood after finishing so strongly against fellow 20-year-old Cilic, but knowing he needs a faster start.

"I cannot start the match like today," Del Potro said afterwards. "I was thinking about other things, and the weather was bad. But it was bad for both players.

"I just need to be in focus in the beginning of the match until the last point and play my game."

He added: "My dream is win this tournament. I'm so close to doing it, but now I am focusing on the semis."

Clic, the 16th seed, got going in sensational fashion, breaking Del Potro in game five and, after serving out the first set, again at the start of the second.

But Del Potro, who initially seemed ill-at-ease with the cold conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium, hit back to level at 3-3 and dominated from there on in.

Cilic completely lost his range as Del Potro broke at 4-3 before the Argentine served out the second set and then wrapped up the third in 36 minutes.

The fourth set was even more one-sided until Cilic offered late resistance with a break at 0-5 - but Del Potro responded immediately to seal his triumph in two hours and 32 minutes.

"The beginning of the match I was playing really good and moving him around a lot," said Cilic, "and I found after the first set that it got a lot cooler and the court was a little bit hard to play on.

"The ball wasn't going through the court as much as it was in the beginning, and then he was like all the time on top of me and not letting me find any other solution to get back."



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see also
US Open photos - day 13
12 Sep 09 |  Tennis
US Open day 13 as it happened
12 Sep 09 |  Tennis
US Open to 'develop' roof plans
12 Sep 09 |  Tennis
US Open day 11 as it happened
11 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Federer battles into semi-finals
10 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Telegraph Del Potro's road to victory - 1 hr ago
First Post Federer stunned in US Open by del Potro - 4 hrs ago
Star-Telegram Del Potro beats Federer - 7 hrs ago
Washington Times Serena out on violation; Nadal overcomes rain - 8 hrs ago
Washington Post Del Potro Topples Federer - 10 hrs ago


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