Nadal deals with Gasquet to set up final with Djokovic
NEW YORK - (UPDATE 1) Rafa Nadal comfortably dealt with France's Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-6(1), 6-2, on Saturday to move into the final of the U.S. Open where he faces a highly anticipated clash with world number one Novak Djokovic.
After Djokovic needed five sets to deal with a determined Stanislas Wawrinka in their earlier semi-final, second-seed Nadal's task was almost routine against an opponent he has now beaten in all 11 meetings between the pair.
Djokovic and Nadal will now meet for the third time in four years in the Monday final at Flushing Meadows with Nadal having triumphed in 2010 and holding a 21-15 record in their all-time meetings.
"Novak is an amazing competitor. His results say he is probably one of the best players I have ever seen," said the Spaniard. "He's a great champion and it will be a tough final for me but I hope to be ready for that."
Nadal, who missed last year's U.S. Open with a knee injury, heads into the final in rich form though with a 21-0 record on hard court this year.
That streak never looked in danger of being ended by the 27-year-old Gasquet who has yet to reach a grand slam final.
Nadal swiftly broke Gasquet's first serve of the match, when the Frenchman found the net and he held his serve with relative ease to take the first set in 43 minutes.
The second-set had a different flavour as the number two seed was pushed hard by the astute Frenchman.
After Nadal again started by breaking Gasquet in the first game, the Frenchman fought back, breaking to go 2-2 - the first time Nadal's serve has been broken in 89 games.
Playing disciplined and intelligent tennis throughout the second set, Gasquet forced a tiebreak but that decider was a one-sided affair which Gasquet started and ended with a double-fault as Nadal ran out a 7-1 winner.
Nadal then broke in the second game of the third with a magnificent forehand down the line. He took full command of the match when Gasquet ended the third set in disappointing fashion with two double faults on the final two points.
(Reporting By Simon Evans, Editing by Gene Cherry)