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Nadal wins, makes Open semifinals

NEW YORK - Rafael Nadal has no way of knowing how his aching stomach muscles will feel when he plays in the U.S. Open semifinals.

And no one else knows exactly how much Nadal is bothered by the injury, because he steadfastly refuses to delve into details on the subject.

What the six-time major champion is willing to make clear: He feels a lot less drained these days than he normally does by the time the year's last Grand Slam tournament - the only one he hasn't won - rolls around.

'I'm more fresh than last year, 100 percent sure. We will see how I am physically tomorrow. But mentally - last year, (I) was totally destroyed mentally,' Nadal said Saturday after finally completing his rain-interrupted quarterfinal win over an error-prone Fernando Gonzalez. 'Mentally, this year, I am perfect, no?'

The No. 3-seeded Nadal beat No. 11 Gonzalez 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-0 in a match that began Thursday evening, was suspended that night because of showers in the second-set tiebreaker, and didn't resume until Saturday thanks to more rain Friday.

'I have to admit, I'm pleased that match is finished,' tournament director Jim Curley said.

He joined U.S. Tennis Association executive director Gordon Smith at a news conference, where they declined to commit to building a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, a topic of much discussion around these parts.

'It will be some time before there's any decision made on whether or not to go forward with the roof,' Smith said.

Not long after Nadal-Gonzalez wrapped up, a steady drizzle returned, forcing the postponement of the men's doubles final and delaying the start of the women's semifinals. Organizers were still hoping to be able to get those two matches - Serena Williams vs. Kim Clijsters, and Caroline Wozniacki vs. Yanina Wickmayer - on court Saturday night.

Weather permitting - two key words at Flushing Meadows lately - Nadal will face No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro in one men's semifinal today, and No. 1 Roger Federer will meet No. 4 Novak Djokovic in the other. The men's final, usually played on Sunday, has been pushed back to Monday on account of the weather for the second consecutive year, a financial hit for the U.S. Tennis Association. The men's final hadn't been played on Monday since 1987.

Gonzalez, for one, figures this year's championship matchup is a foregone conclusion.

'You always expect that Federer plays the finals against Nadal,' Gonzalez said. 'Good for the game. It's good for the fans.'