Rafael Nadal believes it’s sad that he and Roger Federer have never met in a US Open final, insisting the two Grand Slam warriors will have to keep playing until it happens.

World number one Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, brushed aside Russian 19-year-old Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 97 minutes on Wednesday to make the last-four in New York for a sixth time.

In the evening session, Federer will face Juan Martin del Potro in his quarter-final. Victory for the five-time US Open champion would set-up a Friday semi-final against Nadal in what would be the first ever meeting between the two at the tournament.

“It’s a little bit strange that Roger and me have never played here especially since we have met so many times in so many important tournaments all over the world. It would be more special if it was in the final this year. We will just have to come back again and make it happen,” said Nadal.

Nadal and 36-year-old Federer have come close to facing off on Arthur Ashe Stadium on five previous occasions when they were just one match away, only for one of the two to lose.

Back in 2008, legendary boxing promoter Don King, never short of hyperbole, even dubbed the potential clash as Grapple in the Apple. Nadal, the reigning French Open champion and 15-time major winner, said that he might not watch all of the Federer-Del Potro match as it clashes with his dinner time.

“We are from Spain and we always eat very late but of course I will be paying attention to it. They are two great players and will be a good show,” Nadal said.

Federer faces Del Potro for the first time in New York since the Argentine star rallied from a set and a break down to shock him in the 2009 final. If Federer and Nadal do meet on Friday, the winner will be guaranteed the number one ranking spot.

Nadal, who will be playing in his 26th Grand Slam semi-final, said he was delighted to have swept past Rublev. “It was a good match. For Andrey it was his first quarter-final at a Grand Slam and he made more mistakes. Still, it was an important victory for me,” said the Spaniard.

“I am happy to be in the semi-finals again. It means a lot. This has been an emotional year for me. I have played well after many injury problems so I always appreciate these moments more. It’s great to have these opportunities late in my career.”

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