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By Jonathan Jurejko
BBC Sport in Flushing Meadows
Rafael Nadal remains the favourite to win at the US Open and proceed over a person on the tally of 20 Grand Slams of Roger Federer following a hard-fought quarter-final win over Diego Schwartzman.
Spanish second seed Nadal won 6-4 7-5 6-2 from the 20th seed.
But he was forced to work before succumbing on a stuffy Ashe, as Schwartzman twice rallied.
Nadal, 33, will next play Italy's 24th seed Marco Berrettini, that beat Gael Monfils in their past eight clash.
Three of those guys's semi-finalists - Berrettini, Grigor Dimitrov and Daniil Medvedev - haven't played at a Grand Slam final.
Nadal, who won his 18th Grand Slam having a 12th title at Roland Garros in June, was considered one of the favorites in New York by the start of tournament, with the other two members of this'Big Three' - Serbia's world number one Novak Djokovic and Swiss good Federer - also tipped as the men to beat.
That has been a recognizable pattern over the past decade such has become the trio's dominance, showing no signs of changing despite all 3 men entering their 30s.
The past 11 Grand Slams have all been obtained by Nadal, 32-year-old Djokovic or 38-year-old Federer.
However, the death of 2018 winner Djokovic, who retired by his last-16 suit against Stan Wawrinka with a shoulder injury, also Federer's quarter-final leave against Bulgarian world 78 Dimitrov, has got the prospect for Nadal to make a serious movement in the race to become considered as the best player of all time.
He can proceed within one of Federer's tally for the very first time, if Nadal lifts his title at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal needed to see a brave challenge from Schwartzman, who levelled out of a double fracture in each one of the two sets before considering far forward.
Race 4-0 was seen by A strange start ahead before the diminutive Schwartzman, backed by Argentine support on an atmospheric Ashe, hit back with four consecutive games of his own.
Momentum continued ahead of the Spaniard dug deep to carry and clinch the opener with a different 28, with Schwartzman, who created two break points for a 5-4 lead.
Remarkably the pattern continued in the next group, Nadal moving up a double split before Schwartzman fought back in 5-1 - with a forehand winner after a scramble departing even his opponent self indulgent - to level at 5-5.
Again Nadal's nous revealed the gap at the moment, carrying Schwartzman's function in the game with his third set point.
Swathes of chairs became empty in the early part of the next group as some audiences left at home, with the clock ticking past midnight.
Fortunately for those abandoned Nadal wrapped up things fast, breaking with no response to clinch victory in 2 hours and 46 minutes prior to embracing Schwartzman.
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