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Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Rafael Nadal through to Indian Wells semi-finals

Rafael Nadal celebrates victory in California
Nadal broke Berdych's serve twice in the first set

Defending champion Rafael Nadal booked his place in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals in Indian Wells following a 6-4 7-6 win over Czech Tomas Berdych.

Nadal fought back from 3-1 down in the second-set tie-break to win the last three points of the match.

"I played really well, especially the first set," said Nadal following his sixth successive win over Berdych.

The Spaniard will next face Ivan Ljubicic, who beat Argentina's Juan Monaco 4-6 6-2 6-1 earlier in the day.

The Croat, who knocked out world number two Novak Djokovic in the fourth round on Wednesday, turns 31 on Friday, earning himself an early birthday present after smashing 11 aces and 39 winners to wrap up victory in one hour and 47 minutes.

"It's a great win and a great present to have a day off just before the semi-finals," said former world number three Ljubicic, who becomes the first Croat to reach the last four at Indian Wells since Goran Ivanisevic in 1996.


"I got a phone call from my brother just after the match. He said that in the Croatian time zone, I finish just a couple of seconds before my birthday, so it's fantastic."

Two-time champion and third seed Nadal began confidently, twice breaking Berdych's serve to take the opening set in just over an hour.

Both players traded service breaks in the seventh and eighth games in the second set before Nadal clinched the match when 19th seed Berdych hit a backhand into the net.

"The first eight, nine games of the match were at an unbelievable level, later the wind came a little bit and it was more difficult to play," said Nadal, who has won five of his six previous encounters against Ljubicic.

"I played aggressive with decision and that was the match."

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see also
Murray through but Djokovic exits
18 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Murray through as Federer exits
17 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Djokovic forced to work for win
16 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Nadal cruises through on return
14 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Murray to defend title at Queen's
04 May 10 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal out of Wimbledon
19 Jun 09 |  Tennis

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