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.”
Rafa rages on!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 5, 2019
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.”