Rafael Nadal demolished Andrey Rublev on Wednesday to reach a sixth US Open semi-final, setting up a first-time New York showdown against Roger Federer if the Swiss legend can down Argentine giant Juan Martin del Potro.
World number one Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, brushed aside Russian 19-year-old Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 97 minutes.
Rublev, ranked 53 and playing in his first Slam quarter-final, was broken seven times and committed 43 unforced errors.
Nadal and Federer have come close to facing off on Arthur Ashe Stadium on five previous occasions when they were just one match away, only for one of the two to lose.
Back in 2008, legendary boxing promoter Don King, never short of hyperbole, even dubbed the potential clash as “Grapple in the Apple.”
“It would be more special if Roger and I met in the final this year, so we will have to try and come back and make it happen,” said 31-year-old Nadal, who has reached his 26th Grand Slam semi-final.
The reigning French Open champion and 15-time major winner added that he might not watch all of the Federer-Del Potro match as it clashes with his dinner time.
“We are from Spain and we always eat very late but of course I will be paying attention to it,” Nadal said. “They are two great players and will be a good show.”
If Nadal and Federer, the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, do meet on Friday, it will also be a duel for the world number one spot.
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