If there was one worry about the Swiss in the one-sided contest, it was the sight of him leaving the court before the start of the third set to receive treatment on a back that had given him problems in the run-up to the Grand Slam.
"He gave me a lesson: 1, 2, and 2", said the Russian, who lost 16 of the last 19 points of the opening set and finished with 43 unforced errors.
Two steps from a third U.S. Open title, who Nadal faces in the semifinals might be insignificant compared to how well he can rise to the challenge and keep elevating his tennis. Rublev knocked out No. 9 seed David Goffin on Monday and before that took out Grigor Dimitrov, the seventh seed. Federer could not bring to this US Open the quality of tennis he is known for. Rafael Nadal won 3-0 to enter semifinal.
Rublev idolised Nadal when he was even younger than his current 19 years and said: "When I saw since the first time, I like it. And I also know it won't be easy", said the Swiss. I struggled too much throughout the tournament to think too far ahead. If I am here with victory and I will answer you with a lot of great pleasure if that happen.
"Is very special tournament to me". Now I have Rublev in front.
"If you're missing all three, it's going to be tough".
3 defeated the German 6-4 6-2 7-5 in one hour and 49 minutes.
Nadal went into humble mode in the immediate aftermath of the match. After the match, he admitted he was getting a massage on his bottom. To get crowd support the way he got it. "That's what he came back for".
Nadal will await tonight's Federer-Juan Martin del Potro battle.
Vandeweghe, seeded 20th, beat Czech top seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 earlier on Wednesday.
"Probably feels like one of those matches I would like to play over again".
"I think I played my best match of the tournament", del Potro said in his on-court interview.
One of the great rivalries in all of sport, Federer and Nadal, who have won seven U.S. Open titles between them, have clashed 37 times over the years but have never stood across from each other on Flushing Meadows' famed hardcourts. He'll be more than determined. "I can play really fast", the teenager warned Nadal, who is 12 years his senior. Obviously that was good enough to beat me that day. "We don't want to talk these kind of things before (an) important match". He has five US Open crowns in his kitty.