New York: Defending champion Rafael Nadal set up a meeting with fourth-ranked Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the US Open by overwhelming home favorite Andy Roddick in straight sets in the last eight on Friday.
Whipping passing shots from all angles and returning superbly, the No 2-seeded Nadal beat No 21 Roddick 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semis at Flushing Meadows for the fourth consecutive year.
The Spanish star compiled a stunning 22-0 edge in forehand winners and broke Roddick's powerful serve six times.
Nadal took the first four games against the 2003 US Open champion thanks to two breaks in the opening 18 minutes, then took 16 of the last 17 points to close the second set. In the third set, Roddick had both of his legs massaged by a trainer during a medical timeout.
"The beginning of the match was really important," Nadal said. "Andy had a really tough match yesterday. Probably, he was tired. Sorry for him."
Seeking his 11th Grand Slam title, Nadal has yet to drop a set heading into Saturday's semi-final against Britain's Murray, who beat No 28 John Isner 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) earlier on Friday.
The other semi-final was set up by Thursday's quarterfinals, and it'll be a big one, too: No 1 Novak Djokovic against No 3 Roger Federer, who has won five of his record 16 Grand Slam championships at the US Open. For the second time in the last three major tournaments, the final foursome is filled by the top four men in the game — but it hasn't happened at the US Open since 1992.
Earlier, Murray ended marathon man Isner's best run at a Grand Slam tournament.
The No 4-seeded Murray dealt with No 28 Isner's big serve and used a variety of lobs and pinpoint passing shots to win 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) at the US Open, reaching his fourth major semi-final this season.
Murray, weathered 17 aces at up to 140 mph from the 6-foot-9 Isner but repeatedly got back serves topping 130 mph and managed to break the American twice in a row bridging the first two sets.
"It's so frustrating playing against him because you feel like you're playing good tennis and it's so hard to break him," said Murray, who has won his past 10 matches.
While Murray is a three-time Grand Slam runner-up, Isner was playing in his first quarter-final at a major tournament, and he acknowledged afterwards that jitters affected him at the outset.
"I wasn't swinging out like I felt like I should have early on in the match. I was just guiding the ball," said Isner, who lives in Tampa, Fla. "That was a little bit of nerves. It just took awhile to free up."
To date, Isner is best known for winning the longest match in tennis history, 70-68 in the fifth set in Wimbledon's first round in 2010, when he pounded 113 aces over its record 11 hours, 5 minutes.
Isner repeatedly has said he aims to be known for a more important victory in the late stages of a top tournament, but that'll have to wait.
"It's been a good run for me, but I'm still disappointed right now," Isner said. "I'm not satisfied."