Nadal moves closer to a fourth US Open title and 19th Grand Slam overall – one away from Roger Federer’s record if he can beat Daniil Medvedev on Sunday
Rafael Nadal blew away Matteo Berrettini to reach the US Open final and brink of a 19th Grand Slam title.
The Spanish second seed, a three-time winner at Flushing Meadows, will face Russian Daniil Medvedev on Sunday after a straight-sets win over Berrettini.
On a wet and windy night in New York, a storm briefly threatened to brew under the roof as Berrettini, in his first major semi-final, had two points for the opening set.
The Italian 24th seed had been clinging on to Nadal, fending off six break points including a set point.
But the underdog then raced into a 4-0 lead in the tie-break, and a drop shot followed by a volley right on to the baseline gave him his big chance.
However, when another volley hit the tape, and one drop shot too many fell short, that chance evaporated.
Every service game was a trial for Berrettini, who saved more break points in the first and third games of the second set but succumbed to trail 5-3.
Two sets to the good, Nadal disappeared into the distance and a 7-6 (6) 6-4 6-1 victory was wrapped up in two hours and 35 minutes.
The 33-year-old will move to within one major title of Roger Federer’s record tally of 20 if he can overcome Medvedev.