PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Matteo Berrettini to reach fifth US Open final

(Reuters) – Rafael Nadal moved to the brink of a 19th career Grand Slam title on Friday by beating Matteo Berrettini 7-6(6) 6-4 6-1 to reach the U.S. Open final.

Rafa put pressure on the underdog Italian’s serve from the start but Berrettini saved six break points to set up a first set tie breaker. Berrettini raced out to a 4-0 lead thanks to some uncharacteristically sloppy play from the Spaniard and the 23-year-old had two set points at 4-6. But Berrettini suddenly got tight and Nadal took advantage, wearing him down in the extended baseline rallies and capturing the set when the Italian sent a forehand long for his 20th unforced error, leading Rafa to let out a roar.

Rafa broke Berrettini on his 10th opportunity to take a 4-3 lead in the second set and cruised to the finish, absorbing Berrettini’s powerful forehands and redirecting them to his weaker backhand side to see off the first time slam semi-finalist.

“The first set was a little bit frustrating because I had a lot of break points and you don’t want to be in a tiebreak against a player like Matteo,” Rafa said.

“I survived that moment and finally I had the break … I think I started to play with more calm and was more aggressive.

“I just tried to stay focused on the next point.”

Rafa tipped his hat to the 24th seeded Berrettini, who came through several epic battles to reach the semis in New York.

“He’s young and he has everything,” he said.

“He’s already one of the best players in the world.”

Next up for Rafa is a showdown with big-serving Russian Medvedev, who was a straight sets winner over Grigor Dimitrov earlier in the day. The pair’s only previous meeting took place in the final of last month’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, where Rafa was a 6-3 6-0 winner.

“He’s one of the more solid players on tour,” Rafa said of the 23-year-old, who will be appearing in his fourth consecutive final and first at a Grand Slam.

“He’s taking steps forward every single week, having an amazing summer. I need to be playing at my best.

“As always in a Grand Slam final you can’t expect an easy opponent.”

Victory in Sunday’s final would leave Rafa just one Grand Slam shy of Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20.

Source: Reuters

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13 comments

  1. Best of luck Rafa . You are ready to claim your fourth US open . You are an inspirations and a champion . Happy to be in New York to see you play 🌟☘️

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  2. Ooooooooohhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Rafa demostraste d nuevo quien esRAFAEL NADAL.. Un partido extraordinariemte bueno.. Dani gran rival pero tú Rafa eres único jamás habrá otro como tú ganes ó pierdas mañna eres el mejor jugador d la historia..
    SIEMPRE CONTIGO.. Suerte para mañana..

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  3. I am always worried for Rafa especially when he plays someone for the first time. I was really nervous in the tiebreak, but I still thought Rafa would win in the end. Matteo had played such a tough five setter and his fitness is not up to Rafa’s. Coming back to win the TB, however, shows Rafa’s nerves of steel. Danill will be tougher this time, but still Rafa wants this badly. I never expected Rafa to have such a great year after his earlier injuries and slow start in the clay season.

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  4. Rafa congratulations well don champ vamosssssssssss one more 💪🎾😘❤️🏆💪🎾😘❤️🏆🇺🇸

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    • Ooooooooohhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Rafa demostraste d nuevo quien esRAFAEL NADAL.. Un partido extraordinariemte bueno.. Dani gran rival pero tú Rafa eres único jamás habrá otro como tú ganes ó pierdas mañna eres el mejor jugador d la historia..
      SIEMPRE CONTIGO.. Suerte para mañana..

      Like

  5. Saw that Celebration by winning the 1st set after 2013 usopen final against Novak in 3rd set…. It was Mind-boggling
    Also in 2012 aus open finals 4th set
    Anyone remember any other celebration like that because I Love tdat

    Like

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