Belinda Bencic does not believe she is far away from becoming a grand slam champion despite seeing her 2019 hopes ended in a US Open semi-final defeat to Bianca Andreescu on Thursday.

Bencic, who will return to the world's top 10 next week, enjoyed the best major of her career as she reached the last four at Flushing Meadows, having previously only gone as far as the quarter-finals in New York back in 2014.

Despite coming unstuck against outstanding teenager Andreescu, having led 5-2 in the second set, the Swiss feels as though she is making good progress.

Rather than identify the need for any grand changes to her game to improve further, Bencic suggests "small details", experience and luck will contribute to future success.

"I think it's small details that matter," she told a news conference. "I think it's not about your forehand or your backhand.

"I think it's overall just trying to improve even the one per cent more of fitness, of mental [strength], of serve. I think just, overall, everything – maybe even the game when you don't play so well, to put the level a little bit up.

"Yeah, I'll just keep doing what I do. I think I just need to create more opportunities like this, playing semi-finals, semi-finals, quarter-finals.

"Eventually, you have to give luck a chance. That's my motto."

Given her previous difficulties at grand slams, Bencic was able to look upon the US Open as a positive experience even with the 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 loss – particularly having retired with a foot injury in her previous tournament at the Western & Southern Open.

"Definitely positively, for sure," she said when asked how she would reflect on the past two weeks. "We reached more than I expected here. After Cincinnati, coming into this tournament, yeah, I think it's my best result, semi-finals.

"Really, I'm taking it step by step. I'm just really happy and positive about it."

Things are getting serious at the US Open.

The women's semi-finals took place on day 11, with the focus firmly on Serena Williams' pursuit of history.

Williams is now a win away from tying Margaret Court's record for grand slam singles titles with her 24th major, the modern-day queen of the court wowing royalty in the stands with a dominant performance against Elina Svitolina.

Omnisport's man on the ground, Nicholas McGee, provides the details in our daily diary from New York.

 

A ROYAL OCCASION ON ASHE

Wimbledon is often graced by the presence of the British royal family, and there was one queen in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch Williams rule over the court yet again.

Queen Latifah was a particularly interested spectator during Williams' rout of Svitolina, while Hollywood royalty also looked on.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee was in attendance and received a huge cheer from the crowd when the Brooklyn-raised star was shown on the big screen.

BARTY & AZARENKA RACE THROUGH

Ashleigh Barty and Victoria Azarenka have six grand slam titles between them across singles and doubles, but that number could be about to increase.

The experienced pairing reached the women's doubles final by hammering Viktoria Kuzmova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Louis Armstrong Stadium. 

Barty and Azarenka lost just one game in the match, which they needed only 56 minutes wrap up in a display that should serve as an ominous sign for Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Dolehide and Vania King, who will meet in the second semi-final.

 

OSAKA GETS WOMEN'S SPORTSMANSHIP GONG

After Diego Schwartzman was presented with the men's sportsmanship award on Wednesday, the US Open confirmed the women's prize had gone to dethroned champion Naomi Osaka.

There could be no more deserving winner, with Osaka's actions following her win over 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the third round winning her plaudits around the world.

OMNISPORT REPORTER ENJOYS SOME PARK LIFE

The lighter schedule that comes with the latter part of the tournament presents the opportunity for some down time.

Our man in New York made the journey from Queens to Manhattan to explore the Big Apple.

Stomping the sidewalks can be tiring, but thankfully New York has plenty of places to take the weight off your feet, with Union Square Park one such laid-back spot.

Statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln feature prominently in the park and, though her achievements are of a very different nature, there is a strong chance Williams could join them in being bronzed once she finally hangs up the racquet.

Bianca Andreescu could not have imagined being in the US Open final this time last year but is in no doubt she is worthy of her place across the net from Serena Williams on Saturday.

Making her first appearance in the main draw at Flushing Meadows, the 19-year-old Canadian progressed to the final with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 win over Belinda Bencic in Thursday's semi-final.

It is a scenario that would have been hard to envision 12 months ago when Andreescu lost in the first round of qualifying in New York.

However, Andreescu came through the preliminaries to reach the final in Auckland at the start of 2019, beating Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams along the way, and made a huge breakthrough at Indian Wells in March with victory over Angelique Kerber in the final.

Andreescu pinpointed those tournaments as the events that gave her the belief she could contend for major titles, but still conceded to struggling to comprehend what she has achieved this year.

Speaking at a media conference, Andreescu was asked what she would have said a year ago if someone told her she would be facing Williams on this stage.

She replied: "I don't think I would have believed them. I was ranked, like, outside of the 150, I think. It's just crazy what a year can do.

"If someone would have said that a couple weeks ago, I think I would have believed them.

"I've always dreamt of this moment ever since I was a little kid. But I don't think many people would have actually thought that it would become a reality.

"It all started in Auckland, then in Indian Wells. I just kept believing in myself."

Andreescu put her hands on her head after clinching victory over Bencic and added: "I think that moment after the match, I was just in shock.

"At the same time, I fought really hard to get to this point, so I really think I deserve to be in the finals on Saturday."

The teenager played four games with Williams in the Rogers Cup final last month before the American retired from the match.

She said of the prospect of facing the 23-time grand slam singles champion: "I remember always telling my team I would have always wanted to play her right before she retires.

"I'm really looking forward to it. She's an amazing champion on and off the court. It's going to be fun.

"She's fighting for her 24th on Saturday. I'm sure she's going to bring her A game. I'm going to try to bring my A game, too."

Andreescu dealt with a hostile crowd in her fourth-round match with American Taylor Townsend and appreciates she will have even less support against Williams, who is looking to tie Margaret Court's grand slam singles record.

"I don't know how that's going to go. But hopefully I can have some Canadians cheering me on," said Andreescu. "I remember I heard some during Taylor's match. For sure, the crowd's going to be for Serena. I just have to deal with that."

Serena Williams will have another chance to win her 24th grand slam and tie Margaret Court's record for major titles, but moved to dismiss suggestions it is her sole reason for remaining on the WTA Tour.

Williams crushed Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 to reach her 33rd grand slam final, and will hope it is a case of fourth time lucky against Bianca Andreescu after losing on her past three appearances in major showpieces.

The American lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2018 before succumbing to Naomi Osaka in a controversial final at Flushing Meadows last year.

She was comprehensively beaten by Simona Halep at the All England Club but will be the heavy favourite on Saturday when she takes on teenager Andreescu.

Williams is the subject of widespread admiration for her ability to maintain her level at 37 following the traumatic birth of her daughter.

However, the question has been raised as to whether she would still be in the sport if she had 25 grand slams to her name.

Yet when that query was put to her at a post-match media conference, Williams was emphatic, saying: "I definitely would still be playing if I had already passed it [Court's record].

"I've had so many chances to pass it and to have a lot more, but it's cool because I'm playing in an era with so many – five eras with so many amazing players.

"If you look at the span of the career, the players I've played, it's amazing that I was able to get this many."

Williams reached her first major final at 17, beating Martina Hingis in straight sets at the 1999 US Open.

Asked what her teenage self's response would be if told she would still be playing 20 years later, Williams replied: "I would definitely not have believed them.

"At 17 I thought for sure I'd be retired at 28, 29, living my life. So, yeah, I would have thought it was a sick joke."

Court and Kim Clijsters each won slams after giving birth, but Williams made it clear replicating that achievement is not her priority.

"I think it's amazing to come back with a baby and win because it's hard", said Williams. "My day off isn't a day off. I'm literally hanging out with baby, I'm doing activities with her. I don't want her to forget me. I try to spend as much time with her.

"I'm a full-time mum first, foremost. That means the most to me. I train, and then I rush home. The other day I found a trampoline park I wanted to take her to. At the end of the day, that's what matters to me, is just being there for my daughter.

"Being in a grand slam is difficult because it takes away a lot of time that we normally have together. At her age, she's starting to really learn things. Her brain is processing things more. I want to be a part of that. I don't want anything else to take that away.

"For me that's what definitely matters most."

Bianca Andreescu will play in her first grand slam final against Serena Williams at the US Open after coming through a fascinating battle with Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Andreescu and Bencic were given an all too unnecessary reminder of what they would face in a potential final with Williams, who dismantled Elina Svitolina in the earlier semi-final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Their duel proved a more prolonged and engrossing one as two players with hugely impressive variety to their games proved extremely well matched.

However, Andreescu's superior power proved the difference in a tight and tense affair, the 19-year-old Canadian coming back from 5-2 down in the second set to claim a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 win that ensures a grand slam run few people expected will end with her holding a trophy of some kind.

Elina Svitolina has a lot to be proud of as she reflects on her grand slam season, having reached successive semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

But what may run through her mind on Saturday when she takes the long flight to China for the Zhengzhou Women's Tennis Open are the opportunities she missed to stamp her authority on a semi-final with Serena Williams that got away from her in a hurry.

The Ukrainian had the right approach in the opening game at Arthur Ashe Stadium, going on the attack early and immediately bringing up three break points, only to let all of them slip.

She committed the same offence in the fifth game with a chance to break back after Williams had surged 3-1 ahead, and from then on the contest became a lesson in making the most of opportunities that the American dished out with relish.

Williams needed just an hour and 10 minutes to wrap up a 6-3 6-1 victory, with Svitolina left to rue her inability to take those chances before the 23-time grand slam champion ensured no further openings were forthcoming.

"It was quite a good start for me, I would say. And first two games I had the chances to break and then to hold," Svitolina told a media conference. "[I] had the chances, but in the same time she played really, really focused and very precise on those two games. After she served in the third game unbelievable.

"I think [those] games gave her not confidence, obviously she's a really experienced player, but it gave her this push to play more freely."

Asked to analyse the break points, she said: "I think on half of them she played really great. She served really good and then went for a second-shot winner.

"Then I had maybe one or two points where I could step, I could make a difference, but I didn't. I made a few unforced errors.

"But, again, that's why she is who she is. You are playing in front of the best tennis player in the world. If you don't take it, she just grabs it and there's no chance to take it back.

"The last two slams have been good for me. I'm very happy with the way I could handle the tough moments. Unfortunately both times it's finished really one-sided, which I have to analyse, I have to sit down with my coach, I have to work a lot mentally on how I have to handle those kind of matches.

"That's where you have to really step up your game."

Svitolina revealed she was battling a knee problem during the match, adding: "I have a flight on Saturday to go to Zhengzhou. I'm going to play my match on Tuesday or Wednesday. I have no time for preparation.

"I'm going to recover and see how it goes because I've been having some issues with my knee. I will see how it goes, my health. I'm now going to play few tournaments in China. They're very important, of course. I'm trying to get back in Shenzhen [for the WTA Finals]."

Serena Williams is a win away from equalling the all-time record for grand slam titles after a routine straight-sets victory over Elina Svitolina in the US Open semi-finals.

Williams needed just 44 minutes to complete a route of Wang Qiang in the quarter-finals and this contest against a more accomplished opponent lasted just 26 minutes longer.

Svitolina paid the price for missing six break points in the first set and faded rapidly in the second in the face of a performance filled with the confidence of a player poised to join Margaret Court on 24 grand slam titles.

The 6-3 6-1 victory secured her place in a 33rd grand slam final, as she tied Chris Evert for the most US Open match wins with her 101st triumph at Flushing Meadows.

Bianca Andreescu or Belinda Bencic will stand between Williams and another piece of history in a career that will surely go down as the greatest in the history of tennis.

Few would disagree that men's tennis is due a makeover and perhaps we are closer than ever to glimpsing its new face.

The same names are reeled off at every grand slam when talk turns to the 'next generation', and Kei Nishikori ran us through them on the first day of this US Open.

The Japanese put himself forward as a possible contender, then added: "You see [Dominic] Thiem playing finals, and I think a couple of guys are getting closer.

"Of course, Sascha [Alexander Zverev] is a great player and a couple of young guys: Felix [Auger-Aliassime], [Denis] Shapovalov, [Nick] Kyrgios, those guys who are coming up, too. Oh, yes, and [Daniil] Medvedev."

Four times a year, the debate turns to which '#NextGen' star – Nishikori is now 29 – might be able to end the slam dominance of the 'Big Three'.

Andy Murray had made it a 'Big Four' and Stan Wawrinka won three majors in three years, but the latter's Flushing Meadows triumph in 2016 was the last time one of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, three of the greatest players in history, did not win a grand slam.

There is certainly no shame in coming up short when those three represent the competition.

Federer has made his home in Melbourne and at Wimbledon, Nadal is close to untouchable on clay, and Djokovic, on his day and when fit, has the full package.

Opportunities for the rest are scarce. Thiem has been able to beat Nadal on the red dirt but not at Roland Garros, losing consecutive finals. The US Open has seen a varied cast of recent finalists, yet Djokovic has played in three of the past four deciders and won two of them.

This is the golden era of men's tennis, and yet...

Whisper it quietly, but might there be an argument that it has become a little dull seeing the same three names top the honours boards four times a year?

Can we have too much of a good thing? Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are certainly a good thing. They have done wonders for tennis with their efforts both individually and collectively.

But sport is arguably at its best when it is unpredictable, when fans come along for the ride not knowing which way it will twist or turn.

Look at the NFL or the NBA, where regular-season records count for nothing when the top seeds – like the New Orleans Saints or the Milwaukee Bucks – fall short in the playoffs. Look at the Champions League, where Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, try as they might, cannot turn domestic dominance into European success. Look a little closer to home at the WTA Tour.

For while men's tennis is a closed shop, the women's equivalent is anything but. Since Serena Williams completed her second 'Serena Slam' in 2015, there have been 10 different champions across 16 major tournaments.

Serena can dismantle any opponent when on top form and has at times done so this year, but the competition is healthy, the results are often unexpected.

So this year's men's US Open has been similarly refreshing.

We can all remember classic Djokovic-Federer clashes – as recently as the Wimbledon final – but Grigor Dimitrov downed the great Swiss in a New York epic, while Matteo Berrettini described his own quarter-final against Gael Monfils as "one of the best matches I've ever seen".

Seeing new faces compete at the business end of the tournament has been uplifting, with unusually early exits for Federer and Djokovic presenting opportunities for others to forge legacies.

And now, one could argue, we must have a new winner. Only Nadal, with a patchy recent hard-court record, remains of the superhuman trio. He is the favourite but surely he is beatable.

Because how quickly would a thrilling fortnight be forgotten if, come the start of next year, Nadal and Djokovic each held two slam titles? Conversely, a triumphant Medvedev, Dimitrov or Berrettini would renew hope within the locker room.

The 'Big Three' might not have long left at the top – particularly in 38-year-old Federer's case – but the 'next generation' need not wait that long to get over the hump. This looks like a fine opportunity.

Bianca Andreescu was left asking "is this real life?" after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open on Wednesday.

The teenager fought back from a set down to defeat Elise Mertens 3-6 6-2 6-3 to secure a last-four clash against Belinda Bencic.

At the end of the match, Andreescu looked towards her box with an almost anguished facial expression and the 19-year-old admitted she was coming to terms with the magnitude of her achievement.

"I said 'is this real life?' twice. I couldn't really believe it at that moment," said the 19-year-old.

"But then when I sat down, I just couldn't stop smiling, like I can't now."

Andreescu had never gone beyond round two of a grand slam before this tournament and the Canadian feels she is yet to show her best form.

"I'm going to be honest. I don't think I played my best tennis. I just fought really well with what I had every single day," she added. 

"I think that's the most important thing for me and I'm sure for every athlete you're not going to have good days every day.

"So, I just try my best to figure out what's going well and what's not and just go from there."

Canada has never produced a male or female singles grand slam champion, but Andreescu says the prospect of becoming the first is not on her mind.

"No, that hasn't really entered my mind, but that would be pretty awesome," she said. 

"If it happens, then I think I can pave way for many other athletes, the next generation, not only for Canadian tennis but I think for many people."

Rafael Nadal says his body is holding up well amid the rigours of a deep run at the US Open, where he booked a spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

With Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer having already exited at Flushing Meadows, Nadal is the hot favourite in New York and the Spaniard took a step closer to glory with a straight-sets win over Diego Schwartzman.

A 6-4 7-5 6-2 triumph did not tell the whole story against an opponent who provided a stern test for three-time US Open champion Nadal.

Nadal, who has endured well-documented injury troubles in his career, needed medical treatment on an arm issue but the 18-time grand slam winner insists he is in good shape.

"I'm feeling good. [It] was a very humid day, very heavy day. I had some cramps in the end of the second [set] and [in the] the first five or six games of the third," he said.

"And then I take some salt, that's all, and then it was over. The body is in good shape, I think. No, not big problems. 

"Of course, now I'm a little bit tired, it's been a long day. I need to go to sleep. But I really believe that I'm going to be in good shape."

Standing in the way of Nadal and a place in the final is outsider Matteo Berrettini, who defeated Gael Monfils in a marathon five-set encounter.

It was put to Nadal the Italian poses a similar threat to that of Marin Cilic, who he defeated in four sets prior to overcoming Schwartzman, given both players' propensity for power hitting and big serving.

But Nadal is expecting an altogether different challenge.

"I approach the game in a different way. I have one day to think about it, honestly," he added. 

"I just won a very important match for me and it is the moment to enjoy this victory. 

"Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to start to think about what's the plan for after tomorrow, and today is the moment to enjoy that feeling, be in semi-finals of a grand slam again. 

"I achieved the four semi-finals of the four grand slams this year and that's a lot. I'm very, very happy for that."

Andy Murray will have to endure a long process to get back to a level he is happy with as he continues his return from hip surgery, according to his brother Jamie.

Murray was expected to retire from tennis after an emotional media conference at the Australian Open as he revealed the full extent of his injury struggles, with most anticipating a thrilling five-set first-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut to mark his farewell.

However, the three-time grand slam champion and former world number one underwent a hip resurfacing operation in the hope of extending his career and returned at Queen's Club in June, winning the doubles alongside Feliciano Lopez.

He played in the men's doubles and alongside Serena Williams in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon before partnering with Jamie at the Citi Open in Washington. Murray then made his singles comeback at the Cincinnati Masters, losing 6-4 6-4 to Richard Gasquet before being beaten by Tennys Sandgren in three sets at the Winston-Salem Open.

After two victories at a challenger event in Mallorca, Murray conceded to being fatigued following a three-set defeat to world number 240 Matteo Viola.

The 32-year-old opted to skip the US Open in order to play on the Balearic Island and work on his singles game in three-set matches, with Murray poised to feature in a number of tournaments on the forthcoming Asia swing.

Elder brother Jamie, who progressed to the semi-finals of the men's doubles with Neal Skupski and the final of the mixed alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday, believes it is important not to expect too much too soon from the two-time Wimbledon winner.

Speaking to reporters in New York, he said: "[It's] great that he's back on court competing. We had a lot of fun in Washington playing, that was really cool.

"For me to see him out there competing and playing well and enjoying it was really cool those few weeks that he was playing doubles. 

"To see him back playing in Cincinnati was really nice, although maybe he didn't perform the way he wanted to. It's going to be a long process for him to get back to the level that he's happy with.

"You saw with other guys, it took a while. [Stan] Wawrinka he's only now just being back at the level he's used to playing, it took him a long time after his arm injury.

"I think his goal is just to try to play as many matches as he can until the end of the year and try to get a good feeling and find his rhythm and confidence and I guess also find out what his movement level is going to be and then give himself hopefully the best chance to do a good pre-season and be ready for next year."

US Open spectators had their appetite for world class tennis satiated once again on Wednesday, as Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils delivered a thriller at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Berrettini needed nearly four hours to see off Monfils in five sets to reach his first grand slam semi-final.

The secret to his success at Flushing Meadows may be in the meals he is eating at his favourite New York restaurant, which was soon on his mind after his marathon victory.

Omnisport's man on the ground, Nicholas McGee, provides the details in our daily diary from New York.


GIOVANNI A GOOD LUCK CHARM FOR BERRETTINI

Berrettini had a new face in his box during his victory over Monfils, Giovanni Bartocci, the owner of Via Della Pace, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan's East Village that the 23-year-old has frequented during his time in New York.

Bartocci will likely be invited back after witnessing Berrettini's performance in defeating his French opponent, with the Italian set to face Rafael Nadal in the last four.

Asked in his media conference about his friendship with Bartocci, Berrettini replied: "The owner, yeah, Giovanni. Actually, he's from Rome, my city. So, you know, is not tough to get friend with a guy from the same city.

"I knew him last year. He's such a nice guy. He's always cheering for Italians. I mean, I'm the only one left, so now he's cheering for me."

On his favourite dish at the restaurant. he added: "Pasta for sure. But I like pasta in bianco. I don't know if you know it. It's like just oil and parmesan. Simple but really good."


A SUSHI CELEBRATION FOR MURRAY

Shifting to culinary delights from a different region, sushi was on the menu for Jamie Murray after his and Neal Skupski's win over Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow in the men's doubles.

The Scot snacked on the Japanese fare as he spoke to reporters following that three-set triumph.

It clearly provided the boost he needed as Murray went on to also claim victory in the mixed doubles alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the pair progressing to the final by defeating Rajeev Ram and Samantha Stosur.


SCHWARTZMAN WINS SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD

Diego Schwartzman received no reward for an admirable performance against Nadal, as he was defeated in three sets by the highest remaining seed and now tournament favourite.

He can take some solace, however, in that his conduct on and off the court has been recognised.

Before speaking to reporters following his elimination, Schwartzman was presented with the US Open sportsmanship award for 2019.

A well-deserved honour for a player who should have won plenty of new fans with his displays at Flushing Meadows.

Rafael Nadal overcame a spirited effort from Diego Schwartzman 6-4 7-5 6-2 to move within two wins of his 19th grand slam title at the US Open on Wednesday.

Nadal had effusively praised Schwartzman ahead of their quarter-final encounter at Flushing Meadows, telling a media conference he liked "everything" about the 20th seed's game.

He should now find plenty of people agreeing with that assessment after Schwartzman, who knocked out Alexander Zverev in a fourth-round result Nadal said did not surprise him, wiped out 4-0 and 5-1 leads for the number two seed in the first and second sets.

Where the diminutive Schwartzman came up short was in turning those fightbacks into turnarounds, with Nadal able to find his best when it counted in a victory that sets up a semi-final with Matteo Berrettini.

Nadal made a blistering start as he peppered the Schwartzman serve right from the off and broke when the Argentine sent a backhand into the net.

Those inside Arthur Ashe Stadium would have been forgiven for believing a rout was in the offing as he raced through the first four games in New York.

By the same token nobody would have expected the service game he subsequently dropped to be little more than a blip for Nadal, but it gave Schwartzman momentum and he completely erased the deficit with the help of a forehand into the tramlines from the second seed.

He then had a chance to break for a 5-4 lead but overhit a volley in what proved a costly error as Nadal held and then broke to take the set when Schwartzman could only return a backhand slice into the net.

The second set provided a sense of deja vu as Nadal again moved into a comfortable lead only to surrender it.

A forehand overhead at the end of a 14-shot rally gave Nadal a break for 3-1 and that advantage soon became 5-1 but again Schwartzman roared back.

Schwartzman brought the crowd to its feet with a marvellous forehand passing shot in the seventh game, which he took with a baseline winner to break back and start another run of four successive games.

Nadal stemmed the tide, though, and then went 40-0 up on the Schwartzman serve. Schwartzman was only able to save two of the three break points and the sense of inevitability at the end of the second sent supporters flooding out of the arena.

Schwartzman was defiant in the third but by that point he was only delaying Nadal's passage into the last four, and he finally buckled after lofting wide to give the three-time US Open champion a break he was never in danger of offering back.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [2] bt Diego Schwartzman [20] 6-4 7-5 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 35/39
Schwartzman – 26/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/1
Schwartzman – 4/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/13
Schwartzman – 4/10

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal – 63
Schwartzman – 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal – 70/50
Schwartzman – 58/46

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal – 100
Schwartzman - 83

Matteo Berrettini revealed the occasion of playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium left him checking his heartbeat during his epic quarter-final win over Gael Monfils at the US Open.

Berrettini clinched a place in his first grand slam semi-final in a near four-hour battle with Monfils, winning the fifth set in a tie-break as he prevailed 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) on Wednesday.

The Italian's run to the last four follows an excellent Wimbledon campaign in which he reached the fourth round before losing to 20-time major champion Roger Federer.

Speaking in his post-match media conference, 24th seed Berrettini was asked to name the tournament he dreamed of winning as a child and replied: "I have to be honest -- I always said Wimbledon. There you feel something different, it's grass.

"This stadium [Arthur Ashe] is unbelievable. The feelings I had -- I was checking my heart beating during the match. I was, like, 'Oh, what's happening?' Then I said, 'Okay, it's normal. This is a football stadium. It's not like a tennis stadium'.

"I'm trying to keep going, and I'm dreaming, as well. Why not?"

While success in men's singles has been limited for Italian players, Berrettini has plenty of inspiration to draw from on the women's side of things.

Francesca Schiavone won the French Open in 2010 and Flavia Pennetta claimed an all-Italian US Open final with Roberta Vinci in 2015.

"I remember watching the finals here. I was in Italia playing a future in 2015. So four years ago," Berrettini added. 

"It was unbelievable, for them, for Italy. I remember President Giovanni Malago coming to watch the match.

"So for sure it was an inspiration. Francesca, as well. Sara [Errani]. They won -- I don't know. I forgot how many Fed Cups they won. For sure they showed us how to do it.

"I'm really looking forward to beating their records. Why not? I mean, I'm here. Actually Flavia texted me today. So she was really happy for me. She told me to keep going.

"It's good to have such good players behind you."

Bianca Andreescu recovered from a set down to defeat Elise Mertens 3-6 6-2 6-3 and extend her superb US Open run into the semi-finals.

Mertens had not dropped a set en route to the last eight and there were ominous signs for Andreescu when the Belgian 25th seed survived early pressure on her serve and went on to take the first set on Wednesday.

Andreescu – unbeaten since the French Open – progressed to the quarters with a frenetic three-set win over Taylor Townsend in front of a late night New York crowd.

There were considerably more fans inside Arthur Ashe Stadium for this encounter, but it still had the feel of a more low-key affair. Andreescu, 19, found a spark in the second set, though, and controlled the contest thereafter.

Mertens, a member of three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters' academy, proved extremely resolute as Andreescu piled on the pressure.

She saved six break points in the decider but her resistance was finally shattered as Andreescu claimed a win in two hours, two minutes – booking her place in a first career grand slam semi-final, in which she will face Belinda Bencic.

Mertens staved off a pair of break points in the opening game of the match and was clinical when she received her first opportunity, converting it when Andreescu failed to properly connect with a backhand volley.

Andreescu was able to avoid going down a double break despite Mertens bringing up four more break points three games later, but she failed to find a way back into set, which her 23-year-old opponent served out to love.

Canadian Andreescu – winner of the Rogers Cup and Indian Wells this year – wasted an opportunity to impose her will on the second set as she gave an early break straight back with a backhand error.

However, she produced a magnificent sixth game to take command of the second, a backhand pass, a delicate drop shot and a rasping forehand winner giving her a 4-2 lead.

A crosscourt winner sealed the double break and forced a decider in which Mertens proved exceedingly obdurate.

It took until the eighth game for Andreescu to finally puncture Mertens' defences, a marvellous backhand return providing what proved the decisive breakthrough.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Bianca Andreescu [15] bt Elise Mertens [25] 3-6 6-2 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Andreescu – 40/33
Mertens – 22/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Andreescu – 2/3
Mertens – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Andreescu – 4/16
Mertens – 2/6

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Andreescu – 62
Mertens – 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Andreescu – 75/50
Mertens – 60/53

TOTAL POINTS
Andreescu – 86
Mertens – 75

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