Nadal defeats Ferrer to enter Madrid semifinal

Madrid, May 11 (IANS) Rafael Nadal came within two points of defeat before he fought back to progress into the last four of the Madrid Open.

Nadal had lost the first set and was trailing 5-6 on his serve and 15-30 down to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer Friday when Ferrer missed a relatively easy shot to force two match points.

Instead, the No.4 seed saw his chance vanish, and Nadal recovered to take the game and force the set to a tiebreak, which he won, reports Xinhua.

He then used his new-found confidence to brush a crestfallen Ferrer aside in the third set to win 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-0.

The clash between the two Spaniards was without doubt the main attraction of the day, especially following the exit of Roger Federer Thursday and Novak Djorkovic’s surprise defeat Monday. The main court was packed with spectators.

Ferrer took an early break in the first set and moved into a 3-1 lead which soon became 4-1 as he held his serve. The advantage was enough to see him home in the first set.

He then looked to have victory in his grasp but Nadal’s fightback proved decisive.

“It’s true if I had lost that point it would have been 15-40, and two match points for him and the match would have been nearly over. Fortunately, I guessed where he was going,” said Nadal of the key moment.

The Spaniard, seeded only No.5 here as the result of his long lay-off with a knee injury, admitted he still had to find his best form, despite making the last four.

“I think I played well for moments. I was a bit up and down during the whole match playing some very good games then making a few mistakes. When you play up and down against players like David it’s very difficult to win. I was lucky at the end. I am very happy with what happened,” he said.

Nadal will meet Pablo Andujar in the semifinal. Andujar took a straight sets win 6-3, 7-5 against 14th seed Kei Niskikori, who Thursday had knocked reigning champion Federer.

Thomas Berdych also reached the semifinals thanks to a 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Andy Murray.

Berdych’s win means that Nadal is now the highest seed left in the competition, and he will face the winner of the match between Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nadal has so far enjoyed the advantage of playing all his games on the same court at the same time while other players have had to play at different times and on different courts.

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