Nadal through to US Open quarters


NEW YORK, September 8 – Rafael Nadal kept his perfect record intact at the US Open Tuesday as he powered past Spanish compatriot Feliciano Lopez into the quarter-finals.The top seed won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and in four outings to date he has yet to drop a set or even his serve.

Next up in his sights is old foe Fernando Verdasco, another Spaniard against whom Nadal has a perfect 10-0 win-loss record.

"I was ready for the late start and the hardest thing was for the fans to be here," he said.

"This year I am healthy and hope to continue to play well and have my chances."

Verdasco took four hours 23 minutes to see off compatriot David Ferrer in a typically gruelling Iberian clash that involved merciless, end-to-end tennis.

"I hope that it is going to give me big confidence, this match," the eighth seed said.

"And also I hope to be 100 percent physically after a tough match like today to play against a player like Nadal that you need to be like 100 percent to try to face him, to try to beat him."

Home hopes, meanhile, were blown away by Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka when he outlasted Sam Querrey in a marathon fourth round tie.

The 7-6 (11/9), 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 defeat means that there will be no US player in the men’s singles quarter-finals for the second year in a row.

Last year was the first time that had happened in the Open era dating back to 1968.

The 20th-seeded Wawrinka joins Roger Federer in the last eight, making it the first time two Swiss players have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open era.

The match, played in tough, windy conditions, lasted four hours 28 minutes.

"I think for sure the crowd was hoping that he can stay in the tournament. But if you watch the match they were very fair. For me it was great to play that kind of match with that crowd," the 25-year-old Wawrinka said after reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

His opponent for a place in the semi-finals will be 12th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who defeated Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Querrey, also seeking to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, said that the difference between winning and losing had been slight.

"Just a couple of points here and there, It was like every set was like that. Just really a couple of points in every set that made the difference," he said.

Wawrinka reached the fourth round by playing some of the best tennis of his life to defeat fourth seed Andy Murray of Britain in four sets, while all the pressure was on Querrey as the last US player left in the tournament.

The Swiss player let slip a golden chance of clamping a stranglehold on the match when he squandered four second set points before Querrey run off six points in a row from 0-3 down in the ensuing tie-break to level the match.

After sharing the third and fourth sets, both players looked leg weary going into the fifth set and another tie-break looked on the cards until Wawrinka gathered his forces for one last push in the 10th game.

He finally finished Querrey off with a chip and charge on his second match point.

The 28-year-old Youzhny, the sole surviving Russian in the men’s draw, grabbed the first break of serve of the match in the 11th game to take the first set against Robredo.

He then had back-to-back breaks in the second to take a commanding two sets to love lead.

Robredo hit back to take the third set and looked the stronger going into the fourth set, but it was Youzhny who made the breakthrough in what turned out to be a decisive fifth game.

He set up break point with a deft backhand sliced drop shot and then cashed in when his service return clipped the net and dropped stone dead on Robredo’s side.

From 3-2 up, the Russian held serve three times to advance to the last eight.

It is the second time that Youzhny has made it through to the last eight in New York following his run into the semi-finals in 2006 when he beat Rafael Nadal along the way.

"I like the result and actually I like how I played today," Youzhny said.

"Of course, I have some mistakes and I was a little bit lucky in the fourth set."