Rafael Nadal cruises past Andrey Rublev to move closer to Roger Federer meeting

Rafael Nadal completed his end of the bargain and must now wait to see whether Roger Federer can join him in the semi-finals of the US Open.

The pair have famously never met in New York but, after Nadal's 6-1 6-2 6-2 demolition of teenager Andrey Rublev, the only man standing in the way is Juan Martin del Potro, who plays Federer on Wednesday night.

Five times they have come within a single match only for one to lose but, with Del Potro struggling with illness and having needed an epic comeback to beat Dominic Thiem on Monday, surely this is the year.

Asked whether he will be watching, Nadal said: "I'm going to have dinner. In Spain we have later dinner. But of course it's a match I want to see. Two great players and I will be waiting for that semi-finals match.

"It's something a little bit strange that we never played here because we played a lot of times in all the important events around the world.

"I think it will be much more special if that can happen in a final but that's not possible this year so we're going to come back and try to make that happen."

Nadal was Rublev's childhood idol but the 19-year-old may be slightly less fond of the Spaniard after this baptism of fire on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"It was a good match," said the world number one. "For Andrey it was his first quarter-final and probably he played with more mistakes than usual.

"For me it's an important victory, last two matches winning in straight sets is very good news for me. To be once again in the semi-finals in New York means a lot to me."

Rublev was the youngest man to reach the last eight here in 16 years and he had his moments, mostly on the forehand, which is shaping up to be a weapon of real substance.

But this son of a boxer was punching above his weight category and failed to hold serve in an opening set that lasted just 23 minutes.

There was no doubt what this meant to the young Russian, who beat his thigh in frustration when he gave up a break point early in the second set.

He saved that one but he had run into Nadal at the peak of his powers, memories of the Spaniard's shaky early performances long since faded.

Nadal sent returns fizzing at Rublev's feet and tormented the teenager with his unerring backhand in particular.

Tougher challenges undoubtedly lie ahead if Nadal is to lift the US Open trophy for a third time - remarkably he has yet to face an opponent ranked in the top 50.

But in this form he will take some stopping.


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