Rafael Nadal stressed the notion that he is the man to beat at Flushing Meadows with a devastating straight sets victory over compatriot Tommy Robredo to reach the semi-final in New York.
The world number two won the man who ended Roger Federer’s woeful campaign 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, on the Arthur Ashe Stadium and goes on to face Richard Gasquet in the semi-final after the Frenchman earlier saw off David Ferrer in five sets.
“I think I played great the first set- it’s my first set so far this year at 100%,” said Nadal.
“I did all the things that you expect to do good in the first set in my opinion. I am very happy with the way that I moved myself on court, very happy with the way I hit my forehand and my backhand especially.
“So in general it was my best match of the tournament, so that’s great news.”
Robredo, 31, failed to muster any near the effort which saw him stun Swiss, Federer, to reach the quarter-final. After just 18 minutes, he had double-faulted to drop serve thrice, coupled with some desperately edgy serving, Nadal established a breath taking momentum with which he cruised into the second.
At the start of the second, the 19th seed dumped a forehand into the net to drop serve yet again. It took 38 minutes for Robredo to register a point, but Nadal broke again in game seven to effectively seal the set.
Nadal lost just four games in total after the third set as the 2010 champion powered into the semi-final in superb form.
French eighth seed Gasquet earlier held his nerve to beat fourth seed Ferrer 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3.
It was the first time in Gasquet’s career he will be winning back-to-back matches, following up his fourth-round victory over Milos Raonic with an even more impressive effort against the energetic Ferrer.
He moves on to a Grand Slam semi-final for only the second time in his career.