Rafael Nadal sets up Murray showdown in US Open
New York: Defending champion Rafael Nadal cruised past Andy Roddick 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 on Friday to set-up a US Open semifinal clash with Andy Murray, the pair`s third successive Grand Slam last-four match this year.
Nadal pulled off his seventh win in 10 meetings against 2003 champion Roddick and was untroubled as the 29-year-old American was slowed by a left thigh injury which twice needed treatment and the all-court dominance of the Spaniard.
Second seed Nadal, who became the youngest man to complete a career Grand Slam when he won here last year, will be playing in his fourth successive US Open semifinal.
He will be buoyed by having defeated Murray, who made the last four with a four-set win over America`s John Isner, in the semifinals at the French Open and Wimbledon earlier in the summer.
"The beginning of the match was very important. Andy had a tough match on Thursday (against David Ferrer) but he`s a great champion," said Nadal, who has reached the semifinals without dropping a set and saw off Roddick in seven minutes short of two hours.
"It`s always a pleasure to face Andy Murray. He is one of the most talented players on the tour. He beat me here in 2008 when he reached the final. It`ll be an exciting match and a big challenge."
Roddick admitted he had been outplayed, and that he ran out of steam.
"He was in full control of things today, it was the most aggressive I have seen him play this summer," he said.
"It`s tough to play so many matches. I had a tough four-setter against Ferrer and I felt like it was six. I felt the leg in the match. It was like falling over when I was trying to push off."
Nadal was quickly into top gear on Friday and was 4-0 up before Roddick got on the scoreboard, the American`s decision to serve-and-volley backfiring spectacularly.
The Spaniard set the tone in the second set with a break in the first game and backed it up with another to go to 4-1 before a third break in the seventh game gave him a two-sets lead.
Roddick wasted four break points in the first game of the third and he immediately paid for his failure by falling 2-0 down.
At 0-3, the wilting American required a medical time-out on his thigh, but it didn`t cure his problems against Nadal as Roddick looked every inch the 21st seed.
Nadal wrapped up the one-sided affair in the eighth game with another precise winner, one of 35 he fired to the American`s 15.