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Rediff.com  » Sports » US Open PHOTOS: Nadal, Azarenka steamroll to reach semis

US Open PHOTOS: Nadal, Azarenka steamroll to reach semis

Last updated on: September 05, 2013 10:51 IST

Nadal steamrolls Robredo to reach semis

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Rafael Nadal steamrolled compatriot Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to move into the semi-finals of the US Open at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

The second-seeded Spaniard needed just an hour and 40 minutes to get the job done on Arthur Ashe Stadium against Robredo, who had upset Swiss master Roger Federer in the fourth round.

However, he was no match for Nadal, receiving an ironic cheer when he finally won a game at 0-2 in the second set.

Nadal will play Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals on Saturday.


Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates
Photographs: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

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Nadal dictated play with heavy forehands

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Robredo won the first point with an unreturnable serve but that was about as good as it got for the 31-year-old, who was constantly on the back foot as Nadal dictated play with heavy forehands and only 15 unforced errors for the match.

Nadal has yet to lose his serve in the tournament and did not face a break point against Robredo.

Robredo showed glimpses of form early in the third set but when Nadal broke in the fifth game the writing was on the wall.

Nadal broke serve for the seventh time before sealing the lopsided affair when Robredo sent a forehand long.


Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Tommy Robredo
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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'Playing a little bit better every day is great'

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"I think I played my best match in the US Open this year," Nadal said. "Playing a little bit better every day is great. I am in the semi-finals and very happy to be here."

Earlier on Wednesday, Gasquet, who has a 0-10 record against Nadal, had recalled beating the Spaniard when they were 13-year-olds.

"I think I lost 6-4 in the third," confirmed Nadal.

"It was one of the first tournaments for me to play internationally, under 14. Richard was unbelievable. He's a nice guy and a good friend. We started together as kids and it's great to see him in the semi-finals in the US Open."


Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Azarenka notches one for younger generation

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Victoria Azarenka struck a blow for the younger generation by beating Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3 to join a trio of 31-year-olds in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Belarusian, the second seed and runner-up last year, will play unseeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, while defending champion Serena Williams meets Li Na of China in Friday's semi-finals.

Pennetta reached her first Grand Slam semi-final on Wednesday by beating longtime friend and Fed Cup team mate Roberta Vinci, the 10th-seeded 30-year-old, 6-4, 6-1.


Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus
Photographs: Adam Hunger/Reuters

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'It's amazing to see such great players in the semis'

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"I'm a baby, what can I say?" Azarenka said courtside about joining the old guard in last four. "It's amazing to see such great players in the semi-finals.

"It's amazing to see athletes doing so well, their careers longer so fans and themselves can enjoy their careers much better. Everybody looks much fitter, really taking care of their body and taking the sport to the next level."


Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns a backhand
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images
Tags: Azarenka

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Gasquet books semis berth

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France's Richard Gasquet, meanwhile, booked a long awaited return to the last four of a men's Slam with an upset of fourth seed David Ferrer.

Eighth-seeded Gasquet advanced to the semi-finals stage for the first time since the 2007 Wimbledon championships with a thrilling 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory in a slugfest against the Spaniard.

It was the second successive five-setter for the 27-year-old Gasquet, who clinched the concluding set of a marathon fourth-round match against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 7-5.


Image: Richard Gasquet of France serves
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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'Big win for me'

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Gasquet, who had lost eight of nine previous matches against Ferrer, will meet the winner of the all-Spanish quarter-final between second seed Rafa Nadal and Tommy Robredo.

Playing in just the second grand slam quarter-final of his career, 27-year-old Gasquet used his trademark one-handed backhand to near perfection as he closed out Ferrer in three hours and 23 minutes.

Gasquet broke the Spaniard, a model of consistency with trips to the quarters or better in the last eight slams, on a double fault at break point to seize a 4-2 lead in the fifth set.

He ended the match with a bristling forehand for his 52nd winner.

"He had a bad game at 3-2 for me. I was a little nervous about getting into the semis at the US Open, but I did it. Was a big win for me," he said.


Image: Richard Gasquet of France shakes hands at the net with David Ferrer of Spain
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images

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