NEW YORK    -   Rafael Nadal kept pulling away in his US Open quarterfinal, then getting reeled back in by Diego Schwartzman.

In the first set, Nadal led 4-0 before Schwartzman got to 4-all. In the second, Nadal went up 5-1 before Schwartzman made it 5-all. It took more than two hours to play just those two sets. Eventually, both were claimed by Nadal. And so, ultimately, was the match and a berth in a 33rd Grand Slam semifinal for Nadal, who prevented Schwartzman from reaching his first by winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 after 12:30 a.m. ET Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Like a lion in the ... jungle. He’s big. He’s a fighter. He knows how to play the important moments, every single time,” Schwartzman said. “I’ve played him eight times and every important moment, he played better than me.”

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are both out of the bracket, but Nadal is still around, meaning at least one member of the Big Three is in the semis at a 62nd consecutive major tournament. That trio has combined to win the past 11 Slam trophies -- and Nadal is going to be heavily favored to make that 12. None of the other men left has played in a major final, let alone won one. Nadal, though, is closing in on a fourth championship at the US Open and his 19th at all majors, which would move him within one of Federer’s record for men.

On Friday, Nadal will play Matteo Berrettini. The 23-year-old from Rome gave Italy a spot in the final four at the US Open for the first time since 1977 in dramatic fashion, double-faulting away his initial match point and then needing four more to finally put away 13th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) after nearly four hours. The other men’s semifinal Friday is No. 5 Daniil Medvedev against unseeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat an injured Federer in five sets Tuesday night to become, at No. 78, the lowest-ranked semifinalist at the US Open since 1991.