NEW YORK (AP) — While Rafael Nadal was improving to 19-0 on hard courts in 2013 by returning to the U.S. Open quarterfinals, he noticed the scoreboard updates showing how Roger Federer's match on another court was going.
So Nadal knew right away that he would not play Federer next.
"When you are in the changeovers, you see what's going on," Nadal said. "But I don't (pay) attention. I just saw, and that's it."
The second-seeded Nadal, who counts the 2010 U.S. Open among his 12 Grand Slam titles, came back to beat 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Monday night in the fourth round.
Their match ended about 2½ hours after Federer was upset in straight sets by 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo, Nadal's quarterfinal opponent. Had Federer won, he and Nadal would have played each other for the 32nd time — and first at Flushing Meadows.
In an interview the day before the tournament began, Nadal spoke about how he and Federer "deserved a final here," the way they met in four title matches at the French Open, three at Wimbledon, and one at the Australian Open. Nadal won six of those eight, part of his overall 21-10 head-to-head edge.
Nadal reiterated that sentiment Monday after eliminating Kohlschreiber.
"Didn't happen. (That doesn't) mean cannot happen in the future. We'll see. Hopefully," Nadal said. "But is true that we are getting older, so the chances are less today than five years ago."
Federer is 32, Nadal 27.
And while Federer's skills are clearly in decline, Nadal is playing about as well as ever.
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