Rafael Nadal’s Two Wins From Major No. 19
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during their Men’s Singles Quarter-finals match at the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 4, 2019.
Rafael Nadal perspired so much during his quarterfinal match with Diego Schwartzman, that it looked like he had jumped into a swimming pool with his tennis kit on.
On a hot and humid night in New York City, Nadal eventually wore Schwartzman down and prevailed, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the semifinals of the U.S. Open. Nadal now stands two wins from his 19th career Grand Slam title, which would place him one shy of Roger Federer’s all-time mark of 20.
“Today was a very heavy day, big humiidity out here and I am this kind of player that I sweat a little bit,” Nadal said on court. “So sometimes under these conditions, is tough.”
The betting favorite to win the title, Nadal will next meet 23-year-old Italian sensation Matteo Berrettini in Friday’s semifinals. In a match that lasted nearly four hours, Berrettini prevailed in an epic five-setter over Frenchman Gael Monfils earlier Wednesday.
No. 5 Daniil Medvedev will face Grigor Dimitrov in the other semifinal on Friday. The championship is Sunday and the winner will take home $3.85 million.
While Nadal has 18 Grand Slam titles, the other three remaining semifinalists have a combined zero.
“Who in this tour doesn’t know Rafa?” Berrettini said after his victory. “It’s going to be tough, for sure, against him.”
Berrettini is into his first Grand Slam semifinal and had to take a long ice bath after his win over Monfils. He, too, looked like he jumped into a pool with his clothes on for much of the match.
“I saw him play,” Nadal said. “He’s hitting huge. Big, big serves, big forehands, moving well and super confident. He’s a player that is making big steps forward every week so it’s going to be a big challenge but this match gives me some confidence, no?
“Now is the moment to keep going. Tomorrow is a day off, practice a little bit, I hope to be 100 percent for that semifinal because I will need.”
With defending champion Novak Djokovic and five-time champ Roger Federer both out of the draw, Nadal remains the lone member of the “Big Three” still in it. The trio has won the last 11 Grand Slam titles, and if Nadal wins on Sunday that will make it 12 straight.
The winner of 12 French Open titles and three U.S.Open crowns, Nadal could end up tying and surpassing Federer sometime in 2020 if he stays healthy.
Now he is two wins from No. 19 and it’s his tournament to lose.
“I just keep going point by point and here I am semifinals,” he said, “that’s super important for me. It means everything.”