Still no Rafa vs Roger at US Open
NEW YORK — So much for the first U.S. Open matchup between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Federer failed to live up to his end of the bargain.
Hours after Nadal did his part with an easy-as-can-be victory to get to the semifinals at Flushing Meadows, Federer was unable to join him for what would have been the most-anticipated showdown of the entire two weeks, wasting chances to take control and missing shots he normally makes in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 loss to 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday night.
“He came up with the goods when he needed to,” Federer said, “and I helped him a little bit sometimes, too, maybe.”
Federer described himself as too “edgy” and said “that little magic was missing.”
He also insisted that, unlike just about everyone else, he did not spend any time at all pondering a possible matchup with Nadal at the only Grand Slam tournament where they’ve never met. Their wonderful rivalry has included 37 matches, and at least two finals at each of the other majors.
Given that he is 36, and Nadal is 31, perhaps it is time for the tennis world to concede that Roger vs. Rafa at the U.S. Open just will never happen.
This is the sixth occasion when they were a round away from playing in New York, but one or the other lost — including eight years ago, when del Potro beat Nadal in the semifinals, then Federer in the final to end the Swiss star’s run of five consecutive titles at the tournament. All-US women’s semifinals The women’s semifinals are both all-American matchups, the first time that’s happened at the U. S. Open in 36 years : No. 9 Venus Williams vs. unseeded Sloane Stephens, and No. 15 Madison Keys vs. No. 20 CoCo Vandeweghe.
Nadal, who won two of his 15 Grand Slam trophies in New York, overwhelmed 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, then had to wait hours to see what Federer would do under the lights against del Potro.