NEW YORK – Only Matteo Berrettini stands between Rafa Nadal and a fifth final at Flushing Meadows where the stage has been all but cleared for the Spaniard to claim a 19th grand slam title.
The draw always looked kind to second seed Nadal, who was guaranteed of avoiding fellow greats Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer until the final.
But with those two swept away on the other side of the draw, Nadal instead will meet either Daniil Medvedev or Grigor Dimitrov if he gets to Sunday's final.
First the Spaniard must get past 23-year-old Italian Berrettini in what will be the pair's first encounter.
Big serving Berrettini is having a breakout year, with two titles under his belt, one on grass and one on clay, and is now on the brink of becoming the first Italian male grand slam finalist in more than 40 years.