NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Second seed Rafa Nadal underlined his title credentials with a 6-4 7-5 6-2 win over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday to advance to the U.S. Open semi-finals for the eighth time.
Nadal, who has dropped only one set in the tournament so far, was tested in the contest by the Argentine who stormed back twice in the match to win four games in a row in the first and second sets.
“When he is under confidence he’s very difficult to stop,” Nadal said after being made to work hard in humid conditions.
“Of course, I made some mistakes, but I’m super happy the way I accepted the situation and I accepted the challenge.
“Here I am in the semi-finals. It’s super important to me, it means everything.”
With both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic exiting earlier than anticipated, only Matteo Berrettini and one of either Daniil Medvedev or Grigor Dimitrov stand in the way of Nadal’s 19th Grand Slam title.
Berrettini had earlier beaten Frenchman Gael Monfils in a five-set thriller that lasted nearly four hours, as the big-serving Italian reached his first Grand Slam semi-final with a 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6(5) victory.
In the women’s draw, Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu also reached her first Grand Slam semi-final after beating Elise Mertens 3-6 6-2 6-3.
The 19-year-old, who will move into the top-10 for the first time next week, will face Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic who beat Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6(5) 6-3.
“A year ago I was (eliminated) in the qualifying round. I remember I was suffering from a back injury,” Andreescu said.
“What I’ve accomplished this year, I’m honestly speechless. I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life?”
Highlights of the 10th day at the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Wednesday (times GMT):
0450 U.S. OPEN SEMI-FINAL LINEUP
Daniil Medvedev v Grigor Dimitrov
Matteo Berrettini v Rafa Nadal
Belinda Bencic v Bianca Andreescu
Elina Svitolina v Serena Williams
Nadal into semis after big fight from Schwartzman
Andreescu battles back to see off Mertens in New York
Pasta-loving Berrettini hungry for U.S. Open success
Serena ready for Svitolina challenge; Bencic eyes final berth
U.S. Open order of play on Thursday
Love match continues after Monfils U.S. Open loss
Berrettini sinks Monfils in thriller to reach U.S. Open semis
Bencic goes back to the future to reach U.S. Open semis
Bencic bounds into first-ever Grand Slam semi-final
Say what? Comedian Fallon behind bizarre player remarks
‘Baby Fed’ Dimitrov comes of age with Federer upset
Another heartbreak for Federer in bid for 21st grand slam title
Serena flies into semi-final, claims 100th U.S. Open win
Canadian teenager Andreescu’s ascent astounds even her coach
Medvedev no villain says coach, just a misunderstood genius
Sorry and thank you a contrite Medvedev tells New York
Bad boy Medvedev too good for Wawrinka
U.S. Open shocks show depth of talent, says Laver
Second seed Rafa Nadal beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-4 7-5 6-2 to move into his 33rd Grand Slam semi-final where he will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.
Nadal broke the 27-year-old eight times, won 15 points at the net and smashed 35 winners in a match during which he needed a trainer to assess him in the final set.
“Physically I’m fine,” Nadal said. “Today was a very heavy day. Big humidity. I am this kind of player where I sweat a bit.
“Sometimes under these conditions it’s tough, but honestly I am happy that I had some critical moments at the end of the second and the beginning of the third.”
Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu recovered after losing the first set to beat 25th seed Elise Mertens 3-6 6-2 6-3 and reach her first Grand Slam semi-final.
The 19-year-old, who is seeded 15th, struck 40 winners against the Belgian and won 23 points at the net to set up a last four meeting with Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.
2225 BERRETTINI INTO SEMI-FINAL AFTER BEATING MONFILS
Matteo Berrettini beat French 13th seed Gael Monfils 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6(5) in just under four hours to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.
The Italian, seeded 24th, served 15 aces and hit 53 winners, winning a gruelling match despite making 64 unforced errors. Monfils made 51 unforced errors and served 17 double faults.
1800 BENCIC STORMS INTO SEMI-FINALS
Swiss Belinda Bencic reached her first Grand Slam semi-final with a 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Croatia’s Donna Vekic at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 13th seed fired eight aces and won 84% of points on her first serve to wrap up the contest in an hour and 40 minutes.
Play began under a sunny sky with the temperature hovering around 27 degrees Celsius (82°F) and a forecast high of 30C. (Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Simon Jennings and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)