New York: Rafa Nadal took the next step in his charge after the one grand slam crown missing from his collection by demolishing fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.
Nadal moved within two wins of a ninth major title although his remarkable domination from the service line was finally punctured by Verdasco, who ended his string of winning every service game in the tournament at 62 in the first set.
The 24-year-old French and Wimbledon champion never faced another break point in a dazzling all-round display that had Verdasco flinging his racket and talking to himself throughout the match.
Nadal`s next opponent will be 12th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who advanced with a five-set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Saturday`s other semi-final pits five-time US Open winner Roger Federer, the second seed, against third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia.