This match was never even close. Rafael Nadal thoroughly dominated the overmatched Mikhail Youzhny as he advanced to the first U.S. Open Final of his career where he awaits the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Nojak Djokovic.
The first set was bookended by dominant games from Nadal. He won the first game while holding Youzhny at love. Then in the last game of the set, he went up 40-0 on Youzhny before breaking his serve to win the set with a beautiful passing shot from the left side of the court.
In the second set, Nadal got off to a quick start, easily winning the first game. It seemed as though every service game for Nadal was ridiculously easy. The Spaniard broke Youzhny to go up 5-3 in the set after a couple of excellent long rallies and then held serve again without losing a point to win the set 6-3.
The third set went less smoothly for Nadal, however. He broke Youzhny in Youzhny's second service game of the set and never looked back until he was broken himself to let Youzhny get back on serve 4-4. However, Nadal broke back in the next game before holding serve to close out the match 6-4 in the third set.
Nadal looked great the entire match.
For what seems like the first time in his career, the Spaniard is completely healthy (with the exception of his taped-up left foot) going into the final match at Flushing Meadows. It's the farthest he's advanced in his career here in New York and he may not be done yet.
The No. 1 ranked player in the tennis world has yet to drop a set in the 2010 U.S. Open and if anything, he's won more and more easily as the tournament has progressed.
Nadal easily beat Giles Simon 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the third round then Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth.
His two most recent matches saw Nadal beat Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 before knocking Youzhny out in this one 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
This healthy version of Nadal has all the tools to beat the winner of the Federer vs. Djokovic match. If the Spaniard plays like this, his opponent may not even stand a chance.
His speed was there, his net game was unbelievable, his groundstrokes were great, and he served consistently. There really wasn't much to dislike from Rafael Nadal in this match.
Expect Nadal to be brimming with confidence going into the final match of this tournament on Sunday. Either Federer or Djokovic will give him a tough fight and an entertaining match, but if this match is any indication, Nadal will be hoisting the trophy for the first time in his career.