NEW YORK // Rafael Nadal yesterday breezed into his first US Open final with a straightforward win over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny at Flushing Meadows. Nadal won 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 yesterday at Arthur Ashe Stadium. He has not dropped a set on his way to today's final, in which he will play Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. The world No 1 has also lost his serve just twice in the championships as he looks to become the seventh man - and, at 24, the second-youngest - to complete the career grand slam.
"For me it's a dream, I'm going to play the first time in the final in the biggest centre court in the world," Nadal said. "Right now, after a lot of work I am here and very happy. "I played aggressive, my serve is working well during all the tournament and maybe [Youzhny] was a bit tighter than me because he played longer matches than me during the week." Nadal broke serve in the fourth game of the match and saved a break point in a lengthy game to consolidate the break. A second break closed out the set.
Youzhny's hopes were given a brief boost when Nadal needed treatment to his feet midway through the second set. "The tape was too hard but no problem," Nadal said later. But the left-hander soon shrugged off any problems and another break of serve was enough to take a two-sets-to-love lead. There was surely no-one among the 23,000-strong crowd who felt Youzhny could come back from such a position, but to the 12th seed's credit he broke Nadal's serve for the first time in the match to get back on level terms at 4-4 in the third set.
However, Youzhny's joy was short-lived as a dreadful backhand volley into the net gifted Nadal a chance to break back, and the Wimbledon champion needed no second invitation before serving out for the match after two hours and 13 minutes. * Press Association