Rafael Nadal has won all 12 sets he’s played so far at the 2010 U.S. Open. He’s also won all 61 games he’s served.
Nadal moved into the U.S. Open quarterfinals and stretched his winning streak at major tournaments to 18 by beating 23rd-seeded Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that finished at 1:16 a.m. Wednesday.
The top-seeded Nadal saved all four break points he faced against Lopez and has erased all 13 he’s had to deal with this year in New York.
“I am playing well, but I am not playing - yet - at my highest level,” Nadal said. “To be in (the) quarterfinals of the U.S. Open without losing a set and without losing serve, two things must work very well: concentration and the serve.”
Nadal finished with an impressive ratio of 34 winners to 14 unforced errors against Lopez. It was a point Nadal lost, though, that might have included his top shot.
Early in the third set, Nadal did his best Roger Federer impression, chasing down a lob and, with his back to the net, hitting the ball between his legs. But unlike Federer, who pulled off that trick shot for winners at the U.S. Open both last year and this year, Nadal didn’t earn the point - because Lopez was standing at the net and calmly volleyed the ball away.
Nadal and Lopez began playing after 11 p.m. Tuesday night, because theirs was the final match on Arthur Ashe Stadium in a schedule that included a five-set men’s match, a three-set women’s match and a lengthy two-set women’s match.
“Yeah, of course, it’s difficult. You have to be awake,” Lopez said. “It’s a long day for Rafa and for me. But we knew it’s going to be like this.”
Nadal won the French Open and Wimbledon this year to raise his total to eight major championships. He needs a U.S. Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.
Now Nadal will play No. 8 Fernando Verdasco in the first all-Spanish quarterfinal in U.S. Open history.
“He is a very complete player,” Nadal said. “He has all the shots, and he’s playing very well.”
It’s a rematch of their classic 2009 Australian Open semifinal, a five-setter that Nadal won in 5 hours, 14 minutes.
That’s part of Nadal’s overall 10-0 record against Verdasco.
“Everybody knows that he’s No. 1 in the world; he’s great player,” said Verdasco, who eliminated No. 10 David Ferrer in five sets Tuesday. “My record is not good against him. But I will keep trying and keep fighting.”