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Page last updated at 19:47 GMT, Saturday, 11 September 2010 20:47 UK

Rafael Nadal beats Mikhail Youzhny in US Open semis

US Open, Flushing Meadows
Dates: 30 August - 12 September Start time: 1600 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live on Sky Sports

Rafael Nadal
Top seed Nadal is bidding to win his first US Open title

Rafael Nadal swept past Russia's Mikhail Youzhny to reach the US Open final for the first time.

The world number one moved within one victory of completing the set of Grand Slam titles with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 win.

"It's a dream," said the 24-year-old Spaniard. "I'm going to play for the first time in the final here in the biggest centre court in the world."

He will play Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final after the Serbian third seed beat Roger Federer in five sets.

"It's another step in my career, so for sure this is a very important victory for me," Nadal added. "To be in the final of the last Grand Slam of the year is something new, because I always arrived here with problems."

I have tried my best for a lot of years. So now after a lot of work I am here and I'm happy for that

Rafael Nadal

Nadal will get the opportunity to become only the seventh man to complete the set of major titles - Wimbledon, the French, Australian and US Opens - on Sunday at the age of just 24.

Since regaining the Wimbledon and French Open titles this summer the Spaniard has targeted victory at Flushing Meadows, and he is now through to the final without dropping a set.

World number 14 Youzhny could do little to stop Nadal, who again demonstrated the much-improved serving that has marked his progress in New York.

A heavy topspin forehand that just caught the line gave him the first breakthrough in game four and, after a swinging wide serve saw off a break-back point in the following game, the top seed never looked back.

Youzhny began to wilt and a fabulous cross-court forehand gave Nadal the double-break and the first set.

606: DEBATE

The second set followed a similar pattern, with Youzhny struggling to make much impression on a Nadal serve that had only been broken once in the tournament going into the match.

After a quick visit from the trainer to get his toe taped, Nadal got to break point once again in game eight, thanks in part to a brilliant defensive lob, and a heavy backhand secured a 5-3 lead which was quickly converted with another swift service game.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium was a quiet arena by the time the world number one broke through again to lead 2-1 in the final set, but Youzhny had one last trick up his sleeve.

While a fightback seemed all but impossible, the Russian did manage to become only the second man to break Nadal's serve during the tournament when two good forehands and a smash brought him back to 4-4 in the third and sparked the New York crowd to life.

How Rafa played today, I don't have much chance to beat him

Mikhail Youzhny

If anything, it only served to inspire Nadal who upped the aggression on his groundstrokes to regain the advantage in the very next game with some huge forehands, before serving out the win to love and leaping into the air in celebration.

"I have tried my best for a lot of years. So now after a lot of work I am here and I'm happy for that," Nadal told the crowd.

"I played aggressive, my serve is working well during all the tournament and maybe he was a bit more tired than me because he played longer matches than me during the week."

Youzhny admitted: "I cannot say I'm really tired, but I was not fast enough today. My decision-making was not really fast. I was moving well, but my head was one step behind my hand and my legs.

"That's why I was thinking too long where I have to play. That's why I made some mistakes and that's what made the score like this one.

"If you lose the match you cannot be really happy. But actually it was a good tournament for me. You have to be realistic. How Rafa played today, I don't have much chance to beat him."



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see also
Djokovic stuns Federer at US Open
11 Sep 10 |  Tennis
Clijsters storms to third US Open
12 Sep 10 |  Tennis
US Open quotes - day 13
12 Sep 10 |  Tennis
US Open day 13 photos
11 Sep 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Live scores
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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