Nadal breezes into semis in Paris
RAFAEL Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the French Open semi-finals without dropping a single set.
It was the 50th win for Nadal at the spiritual home of claycourt tennis since he first competed here as an 18-year-old in 2005. His only defeat came in the fourth round in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling of Sweden in a fourth round match.
This year Nadal is bidding to become the first player to win seven French Open titles, moving him out of a tie with Swedish legend Bjorn Borg. A win on Sunday would also be his 11th Grand Slam title, level with Borg and Rod Laver.
In the end Almagro went the way of so many others over the course of the last seven years, but he gave a solid account of himself especially in a hotly-disputed first set.
The other semi-final has already been set, with top seed Novak Djokovic taking on third seed Roger Federer.
“I was lucky in the last set.
He had a few opportunities on my serve to have a break, then with my second or third chance I managed to close the match,” Nadal said.
On another cool, overcast Parisian afternoon, games went with serve in the opening set until 6-6 with Almagro, who won the Nice claycourt title in the week before Roland Garros, dominating Nadal at times.
In the ensuing tie-break though Nadal jumped out into a winning 4-0 lead on the back of some brutal hitting down both flanks and Almagro showed the first signs of wear and tear after just over an hour of play.
He held firm till the fourth game of the second set, but then finally crumbled on serve in the face of another assault from Nadal’s hammerblows.
Nadal held serve to make it 4-1 and already the writing was on the wall for Almagro as he moved inexorably onwards toward an eighth defeat in eight matches against his fellow 26-year-old.
Andy Murray’s hopes of ending Britain’s 76-year wait for a Grand Slam men’s champion stalled again Wednesday when he was defeated 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2 by Spain’s David Ferrer in the French Open quarterfinals.
Sixth-seeded Ferrer reached his first Roland Garros semi-final where he will tackle compatriot and six-time champion Rafael Nadal on Friday for a place in Sunday’s final.
“It will be a tough match against Rafa, he’s the best in history on this surface, but I hope to have a good match,” said Ferrer.
Maria Sharapova reached her third French Open semi-final where she will take on Petra Kvitova, the powerful Czech who crushed her in last year’s Wimbledon final.
Russian second seed Sharapova, who was also a semi-finalist in 2007 and 2011, eased past Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-3 while fourth-seeded Kvitova ended Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova’s dream run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win.
Kvitova reached her first French Open semi-final with a battling victory over world number 142 Shvedova who had knocked out defending champion Li Na in the fourth round.