Spain's Rafael Nadal put on a dominating performance in the U.S. Open quarterfinals, steamrolling countryman Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium to advance to the tournament's final four for the fifth time.
The world No. 2 excelled Wednesday night in all facets of the game - serve, ground strokes and net play - to outclass Robredo, who had stunned five-time champion Roger Federer in Monday's fourth-round action.
The statistics told the story as Nadal struck 28 winners and committed just 15 unforced errors, compared to 10 winners and 21 unforced errors for Robredo.
"The conditions were very good for playing. I felt great and I'm thrilled to be back in the semifinals of the Open," Nadal said in the post-match press conference.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, who won his lone U.S. Open title in 2010 and was a finalist the following year, picked up his 20th consecutive victory on hard courts in the 2013 season.
He can recapture the No. 1 ranking if he wins the tournament and the current top-ranked player, Serbia's Novak Djokovic, loses before the final.
Nadal, who did not face a single break point on Wednesday night and has not lost his serve through five matches at this year's U.S. Open, will next take on eighth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who upset Spanish world No. 4 David Ferrer 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 earlier in the day.
Gasquet, who was a rival of Nadal's in the juniors more than a decade ago, will try to pull off his first win in 11 ATP Tour matches against the Spaniard when they square off on Saturday.
Despite the loss, the 31-year-old Robredo, whose ranking fell last year to as low as No. 471 while recovering from a leg injury, will climb back into the top 20 for the first time since 2010.
In women's action Wednesday evening, No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus cruised into the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova and will next take on Italy's Flavia Pennetta, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal with a 6-4, 6-1 win over countrywoman Roberta Vinci. EFE