Nadal Swallows Hot Sauce; U.S. Wins Mixed at US Open
by Staff | September 10th, 2010, 12:33 am
  • 43 Comments

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal made short work of Spanish countryman Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco on Thursday night at the US Open, navigating the windy conditions in a 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory to bring him one win away from a blockbuster final against Roger Federer.


In the semifinals Nadal will face Russian workhorse Mikhail Youzhny, who outlasted Swiss Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in four hours earlier in the day.

Nadal’s serve was broken for the first time in the tournament against Verdasco in the first set. Nadal broke back for 4-all after two double-faults by Hot Sauce, then took control for the remainder of the match.

“Right now, for me, it’s a very, very nice feeling to be in semifinals for the third time in a row for one of the most important tournaments in the world,” Nadal said. “For me, probably right now, the most important.”

Nadal is trying to complete a career Grand Slam at age 24. The other Saturday semifinal will feature Federer against Novak Djokovic. Nadal has won his last 19 Grand Slam matches, and in Youzhny faces an opponent who beat him in the 2006 US Open quarterfinals, before he gets a shot at his Swiss nemesis.

“It’s another time, and I’m, like, another player,” Youzhny said of taking on Nadal. “I cannot say I am better player now, but it’s another time and other opponent, so everything can happen.”

Wawrinka remained conciliatory in defeat after wilting in the fifth.

“I think I give everything today, and I try I try, for sure,” the Swiss said. “I made some big mistake, but after four hours you’re really tired. I was tired. So it’s not always easy to think and to play the right dropshots or to play the good point and not to break the racquet. But, yeah, after the match, I just know that I try everything. I think he was just a little bit better today.”

Americans captured a title on Thursday when No. 1 seeds Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan won the US Open mixed championship, defeating the Czech/Pakistan pair of Kveta Peschke and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-4, 6-4.

“He wants to chest bump, chest bump, chest bump,” Huber said of Bryan. “I’m like, no. Do it with your girlfriend; don’t chest bump me. No, just joking. No, we don’t chest bump. I’m just scared like I will hurt myself.”

On tap for Friday at the US Open are (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. (7) Vera Zvonareva, (2) Kim Clijsters vs. (3) Venus Williams, the men’s doubles final in (1) Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan vs. (16) Rohan Bopanna/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, and the women’s doubles semifinal in (7) Yung-Jan Chan/Jie Zheng vs. (2) Liezel Huber/Nadia Petrova.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
The peace-promoting doubles team of India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi advanced to the US Open men’s doubles final, and watching their semifinal together in the stands were Hardeep Singh Puri and Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the Indian and Pakistani ambassadors to the United Nations. Bopanna, a Hindu, and Qureshi, a Muslim, have also joined the Monaco-based “Peace Through Sports” organization and want to organize an exhibition at a heavily-fortified border crossing between their countries…When U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe announced the line-up for this month’s tie against Colombia — Sam Querrey, John Isner, Mardy Fish and Ryan Harrison – it was assumed by some that the Bryan brothers, like Andy Roddick, took a pass on the tie. Turns out they were passed over by McEnroe, who has concerns about the U.S. players in Bogota’s high elevation and wants extra singles players over the virtually-guaranteed win of having the Bryans on the squad. “We had eight great years playing,” Mike Bryan told the Ventura County Star. “There are still many ties in the future. We love Davis Cup and we’re going to be supportive. We’d like to be down there, but we respect his decision. He’s made a lot of tough calls in the past. This may be another tough call he has to make.”…The iPad has been banned from the US Open, with personnel turning away fans who try to enter the grounds with them. Evil iPad! Fans can also use their smartphones to bet during matches, do those fans get kicked out? Dumbasses…Seven of the round of 16 were Americans in the US Open boys’ event…With that same block of teeth and smile and smart low-powered game, is Caroline Wozniacki just the reincarnation for former No. 1 Martina Hingis? Who is trying to make a tour doubles comeback but can’t find a partner? Kournikova!…Tennis writer James Causey: “First off, let me say this loud and clear. I’m not complaining, but doesn’t it seem as though the top tennis star’s outfits are looking more like something you would find in Victoria Secret when you’re shopping for your wife or girlfriend for the holidays? Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams have both been criticized lately for their attire…But I will toss this question out there. Are these outfits too racy?”…Police busted a ticket scalper near the will-call booth at Arthur Ashe Stadium with 339 US Open tickets worth more than $10,000 in his car and his pockets…ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert during the US Open coverage on the US Open multimedia offerings: “That’s just off the charts when you can get stuff sent to your phone — high tech!” — we’re guessing Brad’s phone is rotary?…25-year-old Marcos Baghdatis is reportedly ducking out of the Cyprus Davis Cup team to concentrate on regaining a Top 10 ranking.


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43 Comments for Nadal Swallows Hot Sauce; U.S. Wins Mixed at US Open

aleish17 Says:

Bring it on in the semis Rafa!
All the way to the finish line. And PLEEEEEEASE win this USO. I have grown so tired and frustrated of watching you lose in this slam.

Go Rafa!!!


bobby Says:

I hope Nadal will win US open 2010.But first he has to beat his old tough enemy,Youzhny who defeated him in US 2006 quarter finals and has 4 hard court victory against him.So let he first reach the final.Same for Federer too.He must beat a resurgent Djokovic to be in final.Let us not Jinx their chances by being impatient.


Gannu Says:

We will see nadalites….If there is justice then Federer deserves to thrash nadal in US Open final… Nadla has had his share of own victories against federer and he has had a misreable cupcake draw.. I really hope federer wins 17th Granslam and his 6th US open and Nadal looks at him utterly crestfallen… I really hope federer wins…

Go federer


vrael Says:

if there is justice then federer deserves to get beaten by roddick,nalbandian,hewitt(considering how much damage he has caused to their careers) all the time by your logic….the best man shall win and it will be NADAL all the way…


Anna Says:

Gannu – Oh…the ol cupcake draw whine again. Let’s just hope both Fed and Rafa make the finals.
Justice may not be served up to your liking, but you can bet it’ll be a good one. Then being the good sports fans that we are we can meet up here after the match to toast the winner! What do you say???


Gannu Says:

Anna… Must admit that i like ur attitude…
somehow at times the person becomes more important than the sport and then you land up being a greater fan of the person than the sport… I always loved tennis but for me to be mad about the game i need to be mad about my idol…In my early days i was very crazy abt graf .. post her retirment i actually used to watch tennis quite dispassionately.. only after the arrival of federer i really got passionate about the game ;-)

Anyways lets hope at the end of the day the better one win…going to be a traumatic weekend for me for sure ;-)


gonzalowski Says:

Congrats Rafa, sorry for Verdasco
Swiss nemesis? por favor… remember Australia.
With these semis, Rafa rank 1 at the end of year, isn’t he? It seems Roger will have to play Montecarlo 2011 and seriously Rome to recover #1


van orten Says:

well well well…verdasco 4:3 ahead in the first set, deuce and what came next???yeah 2 doublefaults !!!!
typical verdasco style…there i knew that the match was over and nadal would be the winner in 3 sets


Dory Says:

I think David Ferrer would have played a better match against Nadal but there’s no point in comtemplating ifs.


margot Says:

Bashful Bouncer Beats Beefy Boy :) :) :)
Ncounters Nadal Next :( :( :(


guy Says:

as for the outfits
well in recent times wta players have been flaunting sexuality on and off the court, players dying to take their clothes off in photo shoots, and the wta promoting it all as part of their marketing.

meanwhile the men get attention for their tennis skills, believe it or not, not their ‘fashion’ or ‘raunchy’ shoots.

if they want their sport to be taken seriously, wta might want to start enforcing a little class on tour, since few of these girls seem to have any naturally.


Gordo Says:

One of the things that makes the comparisons interesting between Roger and Rafa is the fact that they have not met many times on hard surfaces – only twice in North America – and both were long ago. They have met only once in a hard court slam final.

The other interesting thing is the absolute passion that both players’ fans have toward their guy, and accompanying that passion is the desire to mindlessly declare their player the best ever, and to sometimes hurl unwarranted and needless comments and even insults at the other player.

The truth is that both are arguably the best to have ever competed the game, but the truth also is that tennis is not prize fighting – it is not the direct H2H that provides with undisputed proof of who the better player is.

To win tournaments both Federer and Nadal have had to go through a series of opponents to reach the final, and on hard courts Nadal – with the very notable exception of the AO2009 – has not been able to do it (certainly not on hard courts where Federer has been at the other end). The fact that in 4 years that Australian Open is the ONLY hard court final the two have met in speaks volumes. Nadal’s 14 to 7 H2H advantage is as much a testament to Federer’s prowess on all surfaces as it is to Nadal’s amazing ability on clay.

This is not a criticism of Nadal’s ability on hard surfaces – far from it. He is getting better and if he remains healthy may reach and surpass many of Federer’s records.

As of July 31st of this year Nadal had won the following – 41 ATP tournaments, 18 Masters tournaments and 8 Majors and he had been number 1 for 54 weeks.

When he was the SAME AGE, Federer had won 33 ATP tournaments, 8 Masters tournaments and 6 Majors and he had been number 1 for 88 weeks.

Being older (by 4 years and 7 months), Federer has had the time to go on quite the tear and his totals now stand at 62 ATP tournaments, 17 Masters tournaments and 16 Majors and he had been number 1 for 285 weeks.

Those trying to determine who is the greatest player ever use different criteria, quite often based on how it supports their favorite player.

Nadal has already exceeded Federer’s Masters count, but before this was a factor no one was calling Agassi the best-ever, and Agassi held that record.

Nadal is only (!) 21 ATP tour titles behind Federer, a mark he should easily achieve, but again, I do not hear anyone calling Jimmy Connors the best-ever, and his count is well over one hundred.

So this leaves us with weeks at number one and Slams, both of which DO factor in strongly when most people determine the best-ever.

Currently Federer has a sizable lead in both – by 233 weeks at #1 and by double the slams – 16 to 8.

But Federer – like it or not, Fed fans – is in the autumn of his career. But it might be more of an Indian Summer, for if he wins on Sunday the man will prove that he has the skills and the desire to hang around longer than many – detractors and fans – thought possible. If he wins on Sunday we can only marvel at what he has achieved, and can only speculate on what he may accomplish before the end of his illustrious career, for he is in territory – certainly in majors – where no man has ever gone before.

But if Nadal hoists the trophy on Sunday he will have beaten Federer in the finals of all Majors and will be only (!) 7 majors short of catching Federer’s total. Should he stay healthy you would have to think he would have a good chance to do so.

The X factor in Nadal’s future is the future itself – his health, desire and the upcoming opposition he will face.

No matter who wins on Sunday we should applaud both men for their achievement and be very, very thankful we are living in this era when we get to see the two of them compete, even though not against each other as often as we would like.

I love Djokovic and I have to commend Youzhny, but if either of these two pulls off an upset and prevents a Fed-Rafa final DAMN will I be mad. :)


Borg Says:

Hard to believe that everyone is writing off Djokovic. The guy is playing better than Federer. Matter of fact, he will defeat Federer on Saturday. You heard it here first. :P


pro rafa Says:

I’d definitely love to see a djoko nadal finals here… dosent matter who wins… in the end I’d like to see only one thing… djoko imitating federer and nadal!!!:-)


Marko Polo Says:

Nole is already jinxed by Fed and Nadal. They own him big time!!!!!! Not because they are necessarily better, it’s because they are mentally more stable a “must have requirement in this sport”. This is coming from a Nole fan!!!!! I would love for him to break through and spoil the New york party, but knowing him he can might as well brain fart his chances like he did in the last 3 years in New York once he sees Fed on the other side of the net. So I would not bet on anything, because you never know which Nole will show up!!!!! On the other side, both Federer and Nadal have to face Nole and Youzny respectively so it’s premature to set-up a Fedal date, even though some already booked it…. I for one am tired of the Fedal encounter/rivalry!!!! The sport needs spice and variaty and I hope Nole and Youzny have something to say and prove!!!!!! Cheers for good tennis!!!!!


grendel Says:

just to introduce an utterly trivial note into the proceedings. Yesterday, the camera shot onto Nadal as he arrived at the stadium. He was in brown shorts, but at first only the back view of him was shown. For some reason, I thought it was Federer, the physique, the hair viewed from the back, although at the same time I was afflicted by a certain niggling sense of discordancy. Couldn’t think what it was, perhaps I dimly had in mind that Federer wasn’t supposed to be at the stadium today. And then the player turned round.


Ela Says:

Great job by Rafa:) I wish him the US Open trophy with all my heart. I think that Fed is a better match up for him to win it than Djoko.


grendel Says:

Borg: I don’t think anyone is writing Djokovic off, it’s just that there is a natural fascination in the prospect of another Fedal final. (people are definitely writing Youzhny off – does he really, deep down, believe “everything can happen”? Not a rhetorical question, I honestly don’t know the answer).

After all, so much is at stake for both Federer and Nadal, and everyone knows it. It is a matter of perception, though. If Federer loses, I will be disappointed, but it won’t change for me my view of how Federer stands in the pantheon of tennis. Suffice to say here that I am not a goat man, but I do believe in uniqueness and that, as the biblical saying goes, has many mansions. Pancho Gonazalez – himself a candidate in many eyes for goathood – said Lew Hoad was the best player he ever saw. Winning or losing some tournament, however big, would not have affected this jusgement.

Meanwhile it is perfectly true, Djokovic undoubtedly has the game to pull a theatrical coup by doing a a del Potro. Fedal sinks beneath the waves, overwhelmed by relentless Nolian groundstrokes.

But does he have the mind?


van orten Says:

i wouldn ‘t say that on hard court nole is owned by nadal…he would have a pretty good shot against him in possible final. he is def. on hard courts of new york a different stronger caliber than hot sauce ( vs nadal he loses spice) verdasco
federer has a decent chance to win this provided he passes through djoker. in a final vs nadal he has a chance to finish him off in 3 max 4 sets like last year vs del potro. but last year he missed his chances and ran out of gasoline in the fifth against the never ending power hitting del potros, in the australian open final 09 he missed too many chances in the third to have a 2:1 lead. ergo against nadal he has to finally convert his break chances. nadal will take his chances, so must federer if he wants to win


guy Says:

gordo,
i like your post
but i would add that since nadal began to dominate on clay, clay results are almost dismissed by many, as if it is not a ‘real’ surface. the H2H is dismissed for being too clay heavy for example. which makes no sense. why should one surface, in this case, hard courts,have more importance? if anything clay is more legit than hard, having a longer history.
really the reason clay is dismissed has to do with the fact that the two most worshipped players, sampras and fed, have not been the best players on it.
in this case though, federer is an exceptional claycourter.
well i’ll just say this, no one would dismiss that H2H if federer led it and all the matches were on hardcourt.

after nadal defeated federer in the oz in 5, i think you could get away with saying fed and nadal are about even on the hard surface at present, but i think if nadal beats federer again in a hard court slam, the talk of federer’s hard superiority will have to go away.


Von Says:

grendel: “Suffice to say here that I am not a goat man, but I do believe in uniqueness and that, as the biblical saying goes, has many mansions.”

I’m sorry but I don’t follow “has many mansions”. I belieive christ stated to his disciples: “In my father’s House has many mansions, and I go there to prepare a place for you.” That said, how does it correlate to what you’re saying.

___________________

Just want to give a shout out to my buddy skorocel. Glad to see you posting again. I hope all’s fine with you.


zola Says:

Hi everyone,

Gordo,
I totally enjoyed your analysis @7:13 am.Great post.

about Rafa-Rog on hard courts, you are right that in N. America they have met twice (in Miami). They have also met in the Dubai final(2006) and twice in the Master Cups 2006 and 2007 and of course AO 2009. Rafa is 3-6 on hard courts against Roger( I think).

grendel,
Seeing Roger in Rafa? Lol! I told you long ago that you were secretly in love with Rafa!:)

I am so glad that Rafa has made it to the semis and hopefully he can get to his first US Open final. If he can do that either Federer or Djoko will not be easy opponents for him. Even last night the first set against Verdasco was not very well played by Rafa. He needs to get rid of those errors in his next two matches ( hopefully).


Von Says:

Gordo: Your post was very well thought-out and covered all of the pros and cons in the Fed/Nadal rivalry.

The final seems to be leaning towards a Federer/Nadal final, but who knows if the other two semi-finalists are thinking differently. If Fed plays the way he did vs. Soderling, I don’t see him being beaten. Nor, do I envision Nadal losing to Youz, if he plays like he did vs. Verdasco, even though some felt that Verdasco did a roll-over for his countryman. I think Verdasco played with pride, but he’s not accustomed to the windy conditions, in addition to dealing with Nadal on top of mother nature.


Kimberly Says:

If Rafa makes it to the final i think you will see a whole new level of play for him. He seems really fresh right now, but still modest as always.


jane Says:

grendel, you’re seeing doppelgangers (i.e., Nadal looks like Fed from behind, an uncanny double)? Are you still reading Jekyll and Hyde perhaps?

zola, hello! You must be happy to see Nadal doing well as usual; he’s gotten as deep as he did last year and it looks like he’s got a great shot of making the final. I like his black outfit.

I hope that, no matter what happens, the wind lets up a little.


David Says:

Borg

You also said Soderling would be No. 1 very soon, so no one’s listening to you anymore.

Just kidding.


David Says:

It’s hard to see how Youzhny’s going to avoid getting his serve broken 5 or 6 times in his match with Rafa. He just doesn’t have enough of a weapon with that shot. And then his flattish ground strokes will mean a lot of errors so I’m hoping for a straight setter there.

I know Fed’s going to win the other one, but I want an incredible effort from Djoko and for him to come out with that attitude he had against Roddick in the 08 quarterfinals, just looking to take no prisoners. And no hangdog expression no matter what the score is.


zola Says:

Hi Jane,
Thanks. I am glad that Rafa looks healthy and is in the semis. I hope he can make it to the final and hopefully can win it. btw, I like his outfit too. Seems NIKE finally ran out of picnic table cloths and found some decent fabric and an actual designer.

Djoko looks good too. Honestly I don’t know who to root for in his match with Fed. I think if RAfa reaches the final, either would be very tough to beat. Of course Roger has more confidence and is not shy to show that.

well, the weather has been a major factor. First the heat and now the wind…., Blame “Earl” for that!

I think for me the surprise of the tournament was Murray’s exit. Although being a Rafa fan, I can’t say I have any complaints. But I like Murray and his press conference was very depressing. I hope he can put it together. He cannot give up right now. I thought Wawrinka played great. Monfils is still the same and I will be surprised to see him in any slam SF. There was a photo of him jumping 10 feet high trying to hit a “between the legs” shot!

btw, one great surprise for me was the live (and free) broadcast of matches on the US Open site. Great job by US Open and USTA.


jane Says:

zola, I missed the match but I did see this – “There was a photo of him jumping 10 feet high trying to hit a “between the legs” shot!” And what’s more, it was a “reverse” tweener, so facing forward!? Crazy. From all accounts I’ve read, I understand the first set was competitive, but then Monfils’ focus deteriorated; he said in his presser he could not handle the wind, did not know how to adjust his service toss or forehand swings to deal with the conditions, so apparently he reverted to moon-balling behind the baseline. Also, Nole said on of Monfils’ consistent weapons, his serve, was slower and so somewhat neutralized due to the wind. Perhaps dealing with the conditions comes with experience, but also focus is key. It must be frustrating being Gael’s coach, trying to contain and direct all that enthusiasm and talent.


David Says:

Really nice post, Gordo.

If only all posts about the respective records and achievements of Federer and Nadal could be phrased in such a classy manner.


Queen Dulu Says:

I think it will be very tough for Nadal to reach the final, let alone win the whole thing. At this moment the chances of the four remaining players to win the championship lies like this:

Federer: 80%
Djokovic: 15%
Youzhny: 4%
Nadal: 1%

But as a Nadal fan, I hope Nadal can once again defy all the odds to win his first US Open.


Valky Says:

I think youshny will defeat Nadal and then he will meet Federer, of course we know the result. Fed will get the trophy again.


Kimberly Says:

bracket challengers–”what if scenarios” are now posted on tennis channel website. It tells you who will win and/or be in top five with all the different variation of winner and finalists. A lot of possbilities still open. I believe Jane, Sar, myself and Stu have chances still.


David Says:

Queen Dulu

Are you trying to be the Rafa fans’ equivalent of Zinaldo or what?


NELTA Says:

The Saturday schedule is out. Nadal/Youzhny get the noon start and Fed/Djoko get the late match. What’s interesting is the note on the 2nd match says “not before 2:45PM” which is earlier than the normal 4:30PM start for the 2nd match.


Kimmi Says:

I am a fed fan but I am afraid all the stars are looking great for nadal. he has the easiest opponent and he gets an early start too.

federer and djoko to slug it off for hrs as this match will be very tough. They will end up very tired for the final. hmmm!

Lets give the trophy to rafa already.

Still missing murray, he woulda make both semi equal. :(


jane Says:

NELTA “the 2nd match says “not before 2:45PM” which is earlier than the normal 4:30PM start for the 2nd match.”

I assume they will plan to come on directly following Nadal versus Youz, which will likely be at least a couple, or not three, hours (assuming Youz takes a set, or keeps them tight), in which case 3:00 sounds about right. Saturday looks to be a perfect day, clear with a high of 26. However, it looks like showers are forecast for Sunday. Maybe they won’t come; there hasn’t been too much rain this year, thankfully.


super man Says:

i like it how blind fans can get. so it’s nike’s fault that rafa has been dressing like it was a halloween costume party? how come roger and maria get it right most of the time.

it’s like rafa’s team are silent spectators while nike runs their show. get real people.


NELTA Says:

I think that’s right Jane. The 2nd match will be played approximately 1 hour after the 1st match finishes. They have to clear out the stadium and fill it up again which will take some time.

This didn’t happen randomly. Either Fed, Djoko or both together made a request to the tournament director to move up the start time. It’s also possible they requested to play the 1st match, but the TD said no, but they settled on an earlier start time for the 2nd match. We may hear more about this from the CBS crew on air.


Anna Says:

Read through the blog thinking what great comments until I got to the very end and there’s super man, the Debbie Downer of tennisx. How far into the trash can are you willing to dig to find a comment so utterly useless to anyone here. By the way, Roger’s wife is Mirka. Rafa’s girlfriend is Maria Francesca.


grendel Says:

Watcha, Zola! Good to see you back.

Von, I have always understood the saying to be a cryptic way of saying there are many paths to truth. I have always liked the saying, and various others too from the same source, although I am not a Christian. I have very loosely applied it to tennis in the sense that there are many ways of being a great tennis player. I hope this is not offensive to you.


Nina Says:

Apparently Nadal asked to played second and Roger asked to play first. Both requests were refused. Why? Because they expect a Federer-Novak semi will attract higher ratings and viewers.


Vagin Says:

The Roger when that happened was Nadal extreme temparature with scheduling.

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