Rafael Nadal's pleasure at reaching the US Open quarter-finals here on Tuesday night was such that he was even happy to share his joy at beating Gaël Monfils with an intruder who had run on to the court. Three months after a fan tried to place a hat on Roger Federer's head during the French Open final, another spectator breached courtside security as Nadal changed his shirt following his 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win.
"It wasn't a problem, the guy was really nice," Nadal said. "He said 'I love you' and he kissed me."
While tournament organisers promised better protection for players and the intruder, a 23-year-old New Yorker, was charged with trespassing, Nadal was simply delighted to have made the quarter-finals here for a third time. The Spaniard, who now plays Fernando Gonzalez, showed no sign of either the abdominal injury for which he had treatment in his previous match or of the knee problems which kept him out of the game for two months this summer.
Novak Djokovic became the first man to reach the semi-finals when he beat Fernando Verdasco 7-6, 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the final match of yesterday's afternoon session. Verdasco had fought back well after losing a scrappy first set, but had to call for a trainer to treat a stomach injury and faded quickly in the closing stages.
Two unseeded Belgians will play in the women's semi-finals after Yanina Wickmayer joined Kim Clijsters in the last four by beating Kateryna Bondarenko 7-5, 6-4. Wickmayer, 19, will meet the winner of last night's quarter-final between the American, Melanie Oudin, and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.
Clijsters, who is contesting only her third tournament after being out of the game for two years, plays Serena Williams, who booked her place in the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Flavia Pennetta.