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Door Open At U.S. Open, Nadal Continues To Walk Through It With Win Over Schwartzman

By Ricky Dimon

At the beginning of this year’s U.S. Open, the rest of the field was given next to no chance against the Big 3.

Two of the Big 3 exited prior to the semifinals…and the rest of the field still appears to have no chance.

Even though Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are out, Rafael Nadal continues to run roughshod through a draw that has been perfect for him from the start. It is becoming even better for Nadal by the day, despite the fact that his opponents are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him. Diego Schwartzman was the latest to do that–as he always done–in a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 loss to the second-ranked Spaniard during quarterfinal action on Wednesday night. Schwartzman recovered from a double-break down in each of the first two sets to get back on serve both times and he kept Nadal out there for two hours and 47 minutes despite bowing out in straight sets.

Nadal squandered a 4-0 lead in the opening set but broke the 21st-ranked Argentine at 5-4 to regain momentum. Nadal blew all of a 5-5 advantage in the second, only to once again recover when it mattered most to take the last two games. Although the three-time U.S. Open champion got precautionary treatment for forearm cramping in the third set, he rolled the rest of the way to finish off Schwartzman in convincing fashion.

“I don’t know how, but these guys are improving every time,” Schwartzman said of the Big 3. “[Nadal has improved] his serve a lot. (It) was difficult today. I broke him four times, but I didn’t felt comfortable with the return today; was difficult that part of the match, because he won many points with the serve and I think he took a lot of confidence with that part of the game.”

“When he is under confidence he’s very difficult to stop,” Nadal said of Schwartzman. “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 semifinals. It’s super important to me. It means everything.”

Next up for Nadal is another player outside the top 20 making a surprising run in New York City. World No. 25 Matteo Berrettini, a fourth-round performer at Wimbledon, outlasted Gael Monfils 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5) in a day-session match that lasted three hours and 57 minutes.

Berrettini is through to a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in his career, having never previously advanced even to the quarters.

 Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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