12 Sep : Rafael Nadal stormed into the US Open final for the first time in his career, easing past Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
It was one-way traffic Saturday as the top seed had too much power and control for the tournament’s 12th seed, winning in two hours 13 minutes.
The Spaniard had the rest of the afternoon off while his US Open final foe, Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic, dispatched 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the later semi-final.
“For me it is a dream to play for the first time in a final in the biggest center court in the world,” said the 24-year-old Nadal, who lost in the semi-finals in New York for the last two years.
“I have been trying my best for years so after a lot of work I am very happy about that.”
Nadal reached the last four in New York for the third straight year without losing a set and he had dropped serve just once in 77 service games.
The stakes were high for the Spaniard as he bid to reach the US Open final for the first time at his eighth attempt.
A win in US open Sunday would make him the seventh man in history, and the second youngest, to win all four Grand Slam titles – Australian, French, Wimbledon and US during his career.
It would also make him just the fourth man to win three consecutive Grand Slam titles in the Open era dating back to 1968.
Youzhny, a US open semi-finalist in 2006, was bidding to reach his first Grand Slam final at the age of 28 and in so doing offer up the prospect of emulating Marat Safin, the first Russian to win the US Open, doing so 10 years ago.
In perfect playing conditions, Nadal made the first move grabbing a break of serve in the fourth game.
Youzhny, who beat Nadal in four sets in his run into the 2006 semis, earned a break point in the next game after a scintillating 26-stroke rally, but a big serve forced a backhand error from the Russian to snuff out the danger.
Nadal held for a 4-1 lead and a second break of serve in the eighth game allowed the Spaniard to open the second set on his own serve.
There was an air of inevitability about the match as Youzhny struggled to stay in the contest, but Nadal then needed a medical timeout when up 3-2 to fix uncomfortable taping on his left foot.
The Spaniard moved awkwardly for a few points, but he stepped up the pressure on Youznhy once again in the eighth game and a break of serve opened the door for a two sets to love lead.