US Open Tennis 2013: Rafael Nadal Again Proves He's a Lock for US Open Title

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

Sep 4, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal (ESP) serves against Tommy Robredo (ESP) on day ten of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Nadal is unstoppable.

To simply say Nadal has advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows does not do his performance any kind of justice.

Nadal did not just beat Tommy Robredo in their men's quarterfinal on Wednesday night, he sent a message.

The first set lasted all of 22 minutes before Nadal emerged victorious, as the tournament's Twitter account detailed:

Flash forward another hour and 20 minutes and Nadal emerged victorious, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2:

It wasn't just a strong victory for Nadal, it was a historic one, marking the fastest U.S. Open quarterfinal match since 1988, when Ivan Lendl beat Derrick Rostagno.

As if fans should have expected anything different.

Nadal is 58-3 with nine titles on the year since his return from injury in February. In that same timespan, Nadal has gone 20-0 on the very hard courts that had hobbled his body and traditionally gave him issues.

After back-to-back Masters titles in Montreal and Cincinnati, Nadal has cruised through the field at Flushing Meadows.

Going into Wednesday night, Robredo had been no pushover, especially after he upset five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer for the right to face Nadal. Against Nadal, however, Robredo won only four games and suffered a historically quick defeat.

Nadal's next opponent is riding a bit of a hot streak as well. Richard Gasquet has survived back-to-back encounters that have gone the distance in five-set matches against previously favored Milos Raonic and David Ferrer, the latter of whom had gone 8-1 against Gasquet before being upset.

The bad news for Gasquet is that he faces further overwhelming odds against Nadal. Their semifinal match on Saturday will be the first time that Gasquet has appeared in a semifinal since 2007. In addition, Nadal holds a 10-0 advantage over Gasquet in head-to-head competition.

Nadal is on the best streak of his career, playing an ultra-aggressive style as if every match is his last. The feel-good story for Gasquet will end against Nadal, as the Spaniard will look to move on against whichever tourney favorite, Andy Murray or top seed Novak Djokovic, advances in their semifinal on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the "King of Clay" has never been better on hard courts. After sitting out the U.S. Open last year, Nadal has won 15 of 16 sets this year in expected fashion, has not had his serve broken and shows no signs of slowing down.

This year, Nadal holds a 2-1 advantage over world No. 1 Djokovic after beating him at both the French Open and Rogers Cup. Overall, Nadal has a 21-15 all-time advantage against Djokovic. The outlook is just as bleak for Murray, as Nadal holds a 13-5 lead in their series since 2007.

Add in the fact Nadal is playing some of the best tennis of his career and it does not appear as if any contestant left has what it takes to match Nadal's aggressive style.

Nadal is once again proving that he is the most dominant player in the world. Barring injury, there's not a player who can step in and cool off his red-hot 2013 streak as he blazes toward a second U.S. Open men's title.


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