Nadal routs Robredo, Gasquet reaches first-ever U.S. Open semi

Rafael Nadal continued his amazing success on hardcourts this year and cruised into the semifinals at the U.S. Open with a rout of fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

The second-seeded Nadal breezed to a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 win Wednesday night over the No. 19 seed at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I'm playing a little bit better every day," Nadal said.

Nadal moved to 20-0 on hardcourts this year and 7-0 all-time against Robredo, including winning 16 of 17 sets.

The one-sided match saw the 12-time major champion belt 82 winners and commit just 15 unforced errors. Nadal, this year's French Open champion, 2010 U.S. Open winner and 2011 Open finalist, won points on 31-of-36 of his first serves and lost a point just one time during his 16 net approaches.

Nadal captured the first set in just 22 minutes and had a 24-5 advantage in points won. He took the first eight games of the match.

Nadal has not lost serve in his five matches at this fortnight. He hasn't lost serve since the second set in the semifinals against Tomas Berdych at ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati on Aug. 17.

Next up for Nadal will be nifty Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who ousted French Open runner-up David Ferrer to secure a berth in the semifinals.

The eighth-seeded Gasquet held off the fourth-seeded Ferrer 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 at Ashe Stadium to become the first Frenchman to reach a U.S. Open semi in 20 years.

Nadal has owned Gasquet with a 10-0 record in professional matchups. Gasquet recalled the last time he beat Nadal was when they were 13 years old. Gasquet won in three sets at the Les Petits As in Tarbes, one of the biggest tournaments for juniors aged 12-14.

"I think I lost 6-4 in the third. Yeah, I remember. I think in the quarterfinals," Nadal said. "It was a great match. Richard was amazing in that moment. It was a great battle for me."

Since then, though, Nadal has owned the Frenchman and has won 15 straight sets versus Gasquet.

The 27-year-old Gasquet will appear in only his second career Grand Slam semifinal and his first since landing in the final four at Wimbledon six years ago.

After Gasquet shockingly swept the first two sets from Ferrer on Day 10, the gritty Spaniard fought back to take the next two stanzas and force a deciding fifth.

In the final set, Gasquet held for a 3-2 edge and then got the biggest break of the match for a 4-2 lead. He promptly consolidated the break with a hold and held on from there.

Gasquet converted on his first match point with a forehand winner after 3 hours, 23 minutes of compelling tennis on a sunny Wednesday in New York City. The Frenchman wound up with six service breaks, compared to four for his Spanish counterpart.

The 6-foot-1 Gasquet, a two-time champion on the ATP World Tour this year, also captured his fourth-round match in five sets, topping Canadian slugger Milos Raonic.

"I think I work a lot physically," Gasquet said." (I) was a little bit tired after Raonic. We played 4 hours 30 minutes, but I knew I could play another big match. I was feeling not so tired this morning. And I knew I had to be aggressive."

Gasquet is now 2-8 lifetime against Ferrer, including 1-2 at the majors. Ferrer beat Gasquet in the round of 16 in New York a year ago.

"I have a lot of experience, but I lost a little bit my focus in that moment," Ferrer said. "Next time I will try to be more focused."

The 31-year-old Ferrer was a semifinalist at last year's U.S. Open and lost to the great Nadal in an all-Spanish French Open final in June. He's reached at least the quarters at the last eight Grand Slam events.

Two other quarterfinals will be staged on Thursday, when top-seeded Novak Djokovic takes on 21st-seeded Mikhail Youzhny and third-seeded Andy Murray tangles with ninth seed Stan Wawrinka.

Djokovic captured the U.S. Open in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2007, 2010 and last year when he gave way to Murray in the final. Murray is the reigning champ in New York, was a runner-up here in 2008, and is also the reigning Wimbledon titlist, having beaten Djokovic in July's finale at the All England Club. Djokovic beat Murray in this year's Australian Open final. Youzhny is a two-time U.S. Open semifinalist.