No. 2 Rafael Nadal will have a chance to win his 19th major title after defeating No. 24 Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-1 in the U.S. Open semifinals on Friday.
Nadal's serve proved dominant all night, as he won 90 percent of his first-serve points and 74 percent of his second-serve points. He also committed just 18 unforced errors versus Berrettini's 44.
His power was on full display, with this forehand winner just one example:
Nadal also pulled off a magical third-set shot to help close out the match:
Berrettini hung tough for the first set and even led Nadal 4-0 in a tiebreaker. However, the 33-year-old Spaniard held off two Berrettini set points before eventually winning the tiebreak 8-6.
That tiebreak win gave Nadal all the momentum he needed. He forced Berrettini to three break points before finally winning one to take a 4-3 edge in the second set. Nadal then held serve the rest of the set for the 6-4 win.
Jose Morgado of Diario Record put Nadal's performance in perspective:
The left-hander then cruised down the stretch, breaking Berrettini three times and only losing one point while serving.
Berrettini's tournament is over, but the arrow is trending up for the 23-year-old Italian after a fourth-round finish at Wimbledon before his semifinal showing in the U.S. Open. He had not reached the fourth round in any major before this year.
Nadal will now face No. 5 Daniil Medvedev in the men's final. The 23-year-old Russian has only lost four sets during the U.S. Open and is coming off a dominant semifinal showing where he beat Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.
Nadal beat Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 in their only matchup, which occurred at the 2019 Rogers Cup finals in August. However, Medvedev comes into this match on a torrid pace, as Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times noted:
ESPN will televise the matchup on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.