Nadal cruises through to semi finals after win against compatriot
After defeating his Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almagro in the quarter finals on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal now faces the prospect of having to beat another of his countryman if he is to reach his seventh successive French Open final. Despite being seeded second behind world number one Novak Djokovic, Nadal has been in blistering form, failing to concede a set on route to the last four.
On his way to recording his 50th win on the Paris clay, Nadal needed a tie break to claim a tight first set, before unleashing some powerful ground strokes to race through the second. A short rain delay early in the third set gave Almagro hope of an unlikely resurgence, and the 26-year-old gained a number of break points thanks to some huge winners on the forehand side. However, Nadal showed the mental strength that has lead him to become such a formidable power in the men’s game, slamming the door in Almagro’s face on each occasion.
Nadal took advantage of an untimely double fault from his opponent to take a 5-3 lead in the third set, and offer a chance to serve his way into the Semi Finals. He did so in flamboyant style with an ace on match point, much to the delight of the Paris crowd who have taken the Majorcan born player to heart.
Andy Murray’s quest for a first Grand Slam title was ended with defeat to David Ferrer, with the sixth seed Spaniard taking advantage of the British players high unforced error count to complete a four set 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-2 victory. Ferrer, known for his competence on clay, has now defeated Murray in each of their past four matches on the surface. Murray continued to show signs of discomfort, with hip and back injuries that had plagued his earlier round matches resurfacing.
Nadal defeated Ferrer in their two recent matches prior to the French Open in Barcelona and Rome and will be the overwhelming favourite. However, Nadal will be well aware of the skills possessed by his fellow countryman, and will have to be on top form to reach the final.
On the other side of the draw, World number one Novak Djokovic continues in his goal of becoming only the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Serbian Djokovic survived four match points before eventually securing a thrilling five set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Tuesday evening. Djokovic will look to recover sufficiently, having come through five set marathons in his past two matches, in time to face Roger Federer who defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in another epic battle. Federer who himself overcame a two set deficit to reach the last four, remains in contention to add to his sole French Open triumph in 2009.