'What is going on': Rafael Nadal in 'inexplicable' drama at US Open

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Rafael Nadal’s quarter-final clash with Diego Schwartzman at the US Open had fans in disbelief, with the opening two sets proving to be an absolute rollercoaster.

Nadal surged into the semi-finals with a straight-sets win, but it was far from straight-forward.

‘OH MY GOODNESS’: Extraordinary anomaly stuns US Open commentators

Nadal stormed out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, looking like he was about to wipe the floor with his Argentine opponent.

But Schwartzman managed to break back twice and level things at 4-4.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here during his clash with Diego Schwartzman.
Rafael Nadal suffered two extraordinary collapses before righting the ship. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Nadal then steadied the ship and broke Schwartzman to take the first set 6-4.

If fans weren’t already scratching their heads over the topsy-turvy set, they certainly were moments later when it happened again in the second.

Nadal held a 5-1 lead over a seemingly hapless Schwartzman, before the World No.21 somehow got it back to 5-5.

But just like the first set Schwartzman couldn’t go on with it, losing his serve at the worst time to surrender it 7-5.

Diego Schwartzman, pictured here in action at the US Open.
Diego Schwartzman was on fire at various stages. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

“This is inexplicable,” John McEnroe said in commentary for ESPN.

Nadal had it much easier in the third, winning 6-2.

But fans watching at home were gobsmacked by the early drama.

Nadal spoke of "a tough situation" in the first two sets, saying: "I had some mistakes but I am super happy how I accepted the situation and the challenge.

"Being in the semi-finals is super important for me."

Nadal's win at the Arthur Ashe Stadium moved him a step closer to a 19th major title in all, which will be just one short of Swiss ace Roger Federer's record.

Berrettini awaits

Earlier, Italy's Matteo Berrettini advanced to his first grand slam semi-final, beating Frenchman Gael Monfils in a thrilling five-set encounter that went for nearly four exhausting hours.

With both players fighting fatigue and a faulty serve down the stretch, Berrettini eventually triumphed 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

Berrettini finally knocked out the No.13 seed on his fifth match point after double-faulting away his first chance long before that.

"Right now I don't remember any points. Just the match point," No.24 seed Berrettini said on court.

Matteo Berrettini, pictured here after his win at the US Open.
Matteo Berrettini celebrates his win. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

"While I was playing I thought, this is one of the best matches I ever saw. I was playing, but I was watching also."

The match that began under muggy conditions ended under the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium, 3 hours, 57 minutes after it began.

For Berrettini, it marked the latest triumph in a season in which the 23-year-old Italian won titles in Budapest and Stuttgart en route to a career-high ranking of 20th in June.

with AAP

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