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Armada marches towards semi-finals

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Originally published on: 06/09/10 05:51

Rafael Nadal made light work of Gilles Simon with an emphatic 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory to become one of six Spaniards through to round four at this year’s US Open.

The world No.1, yet to reach a final at Flushing Meadows and yet to drop a set this year, edged a tight the first set before easing through in two hours on Arthur Ashe.

Simon, starting to recover his fitness after being hampered by a knee injury for year a year, became a father on Thursday. The former world No.9 fought well in the first two sets but wilted under the afternoon sun in the third.

“It was important to win without dropping a set,” said Nadal. “Every day I seem to play much better which is good for my confidence.”

Up next for Nadal is fellow Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez, who progressed after Sergiy Stakhovsky was forced to withdraw with a tie infecetion while trailing 6-3 4-0.

The duo are two of six Spaniards through to the last 16 in New York, with the winner of their match set to face either Fernando Verdasco or David Ferrer in the quarter-finals. Tommy Robredo and Albert Montanes complete the Spanish sextet.

Verdasco secured his spot with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 6-2 win over David Nalbandian, the No.8 seed and 2005 finalist clinching a set apiece before Verdasco took control, storming away with four consecutive games to seal victory in just under three hours.

“I think mentally I was really strong, even in the first set,” said the Spaniard, a quarter-finalist last year. “I was there all the time. You know, I felt positive and really good and focused.”

Former semi-finalist David Ferrer eased past compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-6(2) 6-2 6-2, while Tommy Robredo’s bid to reach a first quarter-final is alive after Michael Llodra retired from their match with dizziness as the Spaniard led 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4 2-1.

Sam Querrey prevented a Spanish clean sweep, defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-4 6-4 to set up a showdown with Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Andy Murray in stunning fashion in the early evening on Sunday.

But John Isner’s US Open campaign is over after a 6-4 6-7(7) 7-6(5) 6-4 defeat at the hands of Mikhail Youzhny.

The American had trailed 5-1 in the second set before mounting a fightback to the delight of a packed Arthuer Ashe stadium, but the recovery proved short-lived. The Russian will face Robredo in the last 16.

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