Rafael Nadal destroyed fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo for the loss of just four games as he powered into the US Open semi-finals in New York.

The 2010 champion, seeded second, won 6-0 6-2 6-2 on Arthur Ashe Stadium against the man who had knocked out Roger Federer in the previous round.

Nadal, 27, goes on to face Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals after the Frenchman earlier beat David Ferrer in five sets.

“I think I played great the first set – it’s my first set so far this year at 100%,” said Nadal, who returned from a serious knee injury in February.

“I did all the things that you expect to do good in the first set, in my opinion. I am very happy with the way that I moved myself on court, very happy with the way I hit my forehand and my backhand especially.

“So in general it was my best match of the tournament, so that’s great news.”

When the draw was made, Wednesday’s night session had promised a first ever showdown between Nadal and Federer at Flushing Meadows.

That prospect ended with Robredo’s terrific fourth-round win over the Swiss, but the 31-year-old was unable to muster any sort of challenge against the man currently dominating on hard courts.

Robredo made 22 errors in the first set and, tellingly, as many were officially deemed “forced” as “unforced” in the face of a brutal Nadal onslaught.

He did not help his own cause with some desperately edgy serving, however, and double-faulted to drop serve for the third time after just 18 minutes.

Nadal conceded just five points to his compatriot in a brilliant opening set and Robredo dumped a forehand into the net to drop serve yet again at the start of the second.

It took 38 minutes, nine games and a rare loose Nadal forehand for Robredo to get on the board, but the 12-time Grand Slam champion simply would not let up and broke again in game seven to effectively seal the set.

The result was beyond question by now, but Robredo battled on as Nadal’s level dipped from the high of that stunning first set, at least giving the 23,000 spectators some competitive action.

A dipping backhand caught out Robredo at the net to earn Nadal the decisive break in game five of the third and the Majorcan reeled off the last five to reach his fifth US Open semi-final in the form of his life.

Robredo admitted: “I started a little bit tight and he was up very quick. Then there was nothing else to do. He was too good.”