NEW YORK, Sept 5: Rafael Nadal said he felt �in good shape� after advancing to the semi-finals of the US Open with a battling 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 win over Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman.
Second seed Nadal, a three-time champion in New York, will play Italy�s Matteo Berrettini for a berth in the final after the 18-time Grand Slam winner overcame a gritty performance from the 5ft 7in (1.70m) Schwartzman.
The Spaniard needed the best part of three hours to record an eighth straight win over two-time US Open quarterfinalist Schwartzman in a match that finished early Thursday morning.
He received treatment to his left forearm early in the third set but swiftly allayed any injury fears, after a knee injury forced him to retire during last year�s semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro.
�I�m feeling good. Today was very humid day, very heavy day. I had some cramps in the end of the second and first five games, six games of the third. And then I take some salt, that�s all, and then was over,� Nadal said.
�The body is in good shape, I think. No big problems. Just of course now a little bit tired, long day, 1:30 (am). Need to go to sleep. But I really believe that I�m going to be in good shape.�
Nadal rolled through the first three rounds untested, a run that included a second-round walkover, but the 33-year-old feels stiffer competition in his past two matches � against Marin Cilic and Schwartzman � has left him primed for another shot at the US Open title.
�Today I make a step forward, in my opinion. That match give me confidence. Two matches in a row against two tough opponents. That�s a moment to increase a little bit more the level, and I really believe that I can do it,� Nadal said.
The win over Schwartzman sent Nadal through to a 33rd Grand Slam semi-final � third most in history behind Roger Federer (45) and Novak Djokovic (36) � as he reached the last four in New York for the eighth time.
Nadal is the only former major champion left in the men�s field following the elimination of Federer and Djokovic, leaving him as the clear frontrunner in his pursuit of a 19th major title.
�I just won a very important match for me, and it is the moment to enjoy this victory. Tomorrow afternoon I�m going to start to think about what�s the plan for after tomorrow,� he said.
In women�s section Canadian Bianca Andreescu became the first teen US Open semifinalist in a decade, rallying to defeat Belgium�s Elise Mertens on Wednesday and advance to a last-four matchup with Belinda Bencic.
Andreescu, a 19-year-old from suburban Toronto, downed 25th seed Mertens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to book a Thursday clash against fellow Slam semifinal debutante Bencic, the Swiss 13th seed who beat Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/5), 6-3. � AFP