PARIS (AFP) ― Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated compatriot David Ferrer as well as the Paris gloom on Wednesday to reach his ninth French Open semifinal where he will face Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
The world No. 1 recovered from dropping his first set of the tournament to record a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 win while seventh-seeded Murray defeated home hope Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0.
Wednesday’s win took the 28-year-old Nadal’s record in Paris to 64 victories and just one loss and extended his mastery over his 32-year-old Spanish Davis Cup teammate to 22 victories against just six defeats.
|Andy Murray celebrates his victory on Wednesday. (AFP-Yonhap)|
He did it in some style, reeling off 13 of the last 14 games before the sun set.
“When you play David on any surface, it’s always tough and he’s having a great season,” said Nadal of a man who beat him in Monte Carlo in April, one of three losses the top seed suffered on European clay this spring in a 10-year low.
“But I was more aggressive after the first set and maybe he did not have the best of matches as it went on.”
After not getting on court until just before 1900 local time as rain delayed the program by three hours, Nadal looked doomed to have to return on Thursday to complete his quarterfinal ahead of a Friday semifinal.
But after losing the first set, firing twice as many errors against the man he defeated for the loss of just eight games in last year’s final, the world No. 1 carved the only break of the second to level the contest.
Nadal raced through the third set as the sun started to fade courtesy of three breaks of serve and no unforced errors.
He was 3-0 up in the fourth, a run of 10 straight games, before Ferrer stopped the rot.
It was a brief respite however as back came Nadal with another break and a 4-1 lead.
He held comfortably before breaking a dispirited Ferrer for the ninth time of the match.