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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Nadal sets up potential clash with Federer 

The Spanish player thrashed young Russian Andrey Rublev to secure his place in the semi-finals

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his win against Andrey Rublev of Russia
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his win against Andrey Rublev of Russia

Rafael Nadal set up a potential semi-final against his great adversary Roger Federer, their first meeting in the US Open, after thrashing the 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour and half.

Nadal went into humble mode in the immediate aftermath of the match. “It was a good match. Andrey, it was his first quarter-finals, but I’ve won the last two matches in straight sets.

“This has been an emotional year. I’ve been playing well almost every tournament after many years with injuries. Very excited to be in that semi-final and I wish Andrey all the very best.”

Roger Federer was taking on Juan Martin del Potro in the late match of the day, a replay of the 2009 US Open final when the Swiss legend lost in five sets to his Argentine rival. He lost the first set 7-5 to potentially spring a surprise.

The US Open set a record on Wednesday, when Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe triumphed in their quarter finals to ensure that there was an all-American line-up in the US Open women's semi-finals for the first time since 1981 at this tournament.

It is also the first time it has happened with a single country making a clean sweep of a major’s semis since Wimbledon in 1985 when four Americans also got to the last four.

Madison Keys, the 15th seed, won 6-3 6-3 against Kaia Kanepi to join Vandeweghe, Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens in the last four.

Vandeweghe, seeded 20th, beat Czech top seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 earlier on Wednesday.

Williams, 37, is the only one of the four Americans to have previously reached a Grand Slam final, the first of which came at Flushing Meadows 20 years ago.