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Nadal charges into US Open semifinal

Defending champion Rafa Nadal routed exhausted former winner Andy Roddick 6-2 6-1 6-3 on Friday to set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Andy Murray at the US Open.

sports Updated: Sep 11, 2011 07:59 IST
Rafa Nadal

Defending champion Rafa Nadal routed exhausted former winner Andy Roddick 6-2 6-1 6-3 on Friday to set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Andy Murray at the US Open.

Nadal, the only men's player yet to lose a set in the tournament, set the tone early by racing to a 4-0 lead and breaking Roddick six times in the one-hour 53-minute romp.

The second-seeded Spaniard will face a stiff challenge against fourth-seeded Murray, who defeated American John Isner 7-5 6-4 3-6 7-6 and fancies his chances on the US hard courts.

Saturday's other men's semi-final will pit top-seeded world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia against 16-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, who owns five US Open titles.

Roddick was overwhelmed by Nadal's pounding, pinpoint groundstrokes, looked sluggish and twice received leg rubdowns from the trainer during the match.

"Andy had a really tough match yesterday and probably he was tired," Nadal told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, referring to 2003 winner Roddick's four-set win against fifth seed David Ferrer of Spain. "I am sorry for him."

There was little evidence of that on court, however, as the 10-time grand slam title winner powered 35 winners past the hapless Roddick.

The American, in contrast, managed only one backhand winner and none from the forehand side.

Roddick had been sidelined for much of the season with a shoulder injury and later an abdominal tear, but could still appreciate the firepower on display from Nadal.

"That's the most aggressive I've seen him play this summer. He came out swinging," Roddick said.

Nadal was pleased with his progress at Flushing Meadows, having struggled for form in the preceding months.

"I think I am playing well since the second round," the left-hander said. "I feel myself very competitive and have the feeling that I can win -- that is probably even more important."

Turning his eye toward the semi-finals, Nadal said: "It's always a pleasure to play against Andy (Murray).

"He is probably one of the players with more talent on the tour," said Nadal. "The matches against him are always exciting, so it will be a big challenge for me."

Nadal defeated Murray in this year's semi-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon, but the Briton beat the Spaniard in the US Open semi-finals in 2008 before falling to Federer in the final.

"Tomorrow I have to play aggressive, I have to play my best tennis," said Nadal. "It will be a very tough match for me and hopefully for him, too."