Defending champion Rafael Nadal admits world number four Andy Murray will pose a significant threat to his US Open title when the two clash in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Second seed Nadal cruised past 2003 champion Andy Roddick, the American 21st seed, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to reach the last four while Murray, the fourth seed, thwarted big-serving John Isner, the 28th seed, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2).
Top seed Novak Djokovic, who, like Murray, will also be playing in his fourth Grand Slam semi-final of 2011, will face five-time champion Roger Federer, the third seed, in Saturday’s other semi-final.
It will be the second Grand Slam this year which has seen all four top seeds reach the semi-finals.
Nadal, who was a set down to Murray in the Wimbledon semi-finals in a match the British player was dominating, has a 12-4 career record over the fourth seed but is wary of the Scot’s threat.
It will be their third Grand Slam semi-final clash of 2011 with Nadal winning at the French Open and at Wimbledon.
“If he’s closer, he will beat me because on clay was very close, on grass was a very close match,” said Nadal.
“He was beating me one set, and I remember an important mistake with an easy forehand, to go 40-15 in the beginning of the second. He’s a fantastic player on all surfaces and it will be a very tough match for me.”
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 semi-final.
Murray, who is vying to become the first British man since 1936 to win a Grand Slam title, said he thinks he can contend on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.
He is also delighted to be part of the top four which has shared the Grand Slam and Masters titles between them this year.
“It’s good for tennis. I think everyone has played great tennis in the slams this year,” said the Scot.
“At the French it happened, and it nearly happened also at Wimbledon. Roger lost in the quarters. Rafa got injured at the Aussie Open. It’s been very close to happening in almost all four of them, so it’s been great consistency. Glad to be part of that.”