June 6, 2012
Nadal, Ferrer in all-Spanish semi
By SPORTS NETWORK
PARIS - Six-time champion Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer were Wednesday's quarterfinal winners and the two Spanish stars will now meet in Friday's men's semifinals at the French Open.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal handled 12th-seeded fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-3 amid some drizzle at times on Court Chatrier, while a sixth-seeded Ferrer ousted fourth-seeded British star Andy Murray 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-2 on Court Lenglen.
The 26-year-old Nadal moved on in 2 hours, 46 minutes Wednesday with the help of 10 aces, and 45 unforced errors by the overmatched Almagro. Nadal also broke Almagro three times, while Almagro failed to break his mighty counterpart on Day 11.
"I was just trying to wait for my moments," Nadal said. "He had some good moments and he was hitting the ball hard, but I had my chances, too."
Nadal, now 50-1 lifetime at Roland Garros, has yet to lose a set at this 2012 French fortnight, while Almagro hadn't lost a set until Wednesday.
"His serve was really good today," Almagro said. "At the important moments, he served better. The key of the match is I had my chances and I didn't catch it."
The 10-time Grand Slam champ Nadal is the reigning two-time titlist in Paris, having beaten Roger Federer in last year's finale at the world's lone clay-court major.
Nadal is now a seven-time French Open semifinalist (6-0) and trying to become the first man in the Open Era to capture seven French Open titles.
The 30-year-old Ferrer, meanwhile, landed in his first-ever French Open and third career Grand Slam semifinal by dousing the three-time major finalist Murray in 3 hours, 45 minutes. The bout was interrupted by a 26-minute rain delay in the third set.
Murray tried to make it a match by squeaking out a second-set tiebreak to level the match, but Ferrer was simply just too strong for Murray on the clay and cruised over the next two sets to dismiss the frustrated Scot.
Ferrer broke Murray for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, consolidated the break with a hold for a 4-1 advantage, and was able to cross the finish line three games later by converting on his second match point when Murray sent one final backhand long.
The gritty Ferrer prevailed by breaking Murray a whopping 10 times while the sloppy Brit was amassing 59 unforced errors.
Ferrer and Murray have now split 10 career meetings on the ATP World Tour.
The 25-year-old Murray had reached at least the semifinals in five straight and eight of the last 11 Grand Slam events.
Nadal is 15-4 lifetime against Ferrer, including a 2-0 record this year and a quarterfinal French Open victory back in 2005. Nadal has won their last four meetings overall.
"It will be tough against him because he's the best player on clay in history," Ferrer said.
Friday's other semi will pit top-seeded Novak Djokovic against the third-seeded former No. 1 great Federer. The five-time major champion Djokovic will compete in his fourth French semi, seeking a first-ever trip into the final in Paris, while Federer will play in French semi number seven (5-1).
The 25-year-old Djokovic and 30-year-old Federer will meet for a 26th time, with the Swiss leading their all-time series, 14-11. The Serb beat Federer in a semifinal in Rome last month and has won five of their last six matchups, but the Swiss legend topped Djokovic in four sets in the French semis a year ago, which prevented the Serb from reaching his first-ever final at Roland Garros and stopped a 45-match overall winning streak by Djokovic.
Djokovic is trying to become the first man in 43 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles. Aussie legend Rod Laver was the last man to turn the trick when he captured all four in one year back in 1969.
The reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic is riding a torrid 26-match Grand Slam winning streak.
Federer will appear in his 29th semifinal in his last 32 Grand Slam events. The 16-time major champ captured his lone French Open title in 2009 to complete a career Grand Slam and has been a four-time Roland Garros runner-up to Nadal.
Federer hasn't captured a major title since the 2010 Aussie Open.
The 2012 French Open champ will collect $1.5 million.