Nadal reaches first U.S. Open final

Rafael Nadal of Spain eyes a return to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during the U.S. Open tennis...

Rafael Nadal of Spain eyes a return to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

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, Last Updated: 4:06 PM ET

FLUSHING MEADOWS, Ny. -- Top-ranked Spaniard Rafael Nadal cruised into his first U.S. Open final with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 pasting of 12th- seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

Nadal needed 2 hours, 13 minutes to win in straight sets for the sixth consecutive time in this tournament and will play either third-seeded Novak Djokovic or second-seeded Roger Federer in Sunday's final.

Should the 24-year-old prevail on Sunday, he would become the seventh player to complete the career Grand Slam and the second-youngest to do so (Jim Courier). He would also become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win three straight Grand Slam events in a calendar year, having won 20 straight matches in majors, including titles at the French Open and Wimbledon.

"I am going to play in the final for the first time here in the biggest center court in the world," Nadal said. "(The fans) make me feel like I'm home every day. I arrived in New York one week before, and (they) make me feel unbelievable."

Additionally, Nadal is looking to complete the Golden Slam, as he already possesses an Olympic gold medal.

The lefty's first break of serve came early in the first set, overpowering a weak Youzhny second serve with a forehand to move ahead, 3-1. He eventually recorded his second break of serve to win the set on an impressive running forehand winner, one of his 23 in the match.

Nadal's serve was dominant in the second set, winning 20-of-25 points while serving. His break of serve put him ahead, 5-3, and he easily served out the set to take a commanding lead.

"I played aggressive, and it was an important point for my confidence," Nadal said. "Maybe it's because (Youzhny) played longer matches than i did earlier in the week."

Youzhny finally got to Nadal's serve in the third set with an overhead smash to break and even the set at 4-4; however, the Spaniard came right back with his fifth and final break of serve, and he easily served out the match with four straight points to advance to the final.

Nadal leads the all-time series with Youzhny, 8-4, including 4-1 in Grand Slam events. He was able to continuously take advantage of the Russian's second serve, winning 20-of-33 such points.

Federer is trying to reach a seventh consecutive appearance in the final and has been the one to knock out Djokovic the past three years in this event. A five-time U.S. Open champion (2004-08), Federer has not dropped a set at this fortnight, has never lost in the U.S. Open semifinals and is attempting to reach his 23rd Grand Slam final, which would extend the all-time record.


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