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Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 18:36 UK

Rafael Nadal through to Monte Carlo semi-finals

Monte Carlo Masters
Venue: Monte Carlo Country Club Date: 10-18 April
Coverage: Reports on the BBC Sport website and 5 live. Also live on Sky Sports

Rafael Nadal
Nadal has not won an ATP title since last May

Rafael Nadal coasted through to the semi-finals of Monte Carlo Masters with a 6-4 6-2 win over Juan Carlos Ferrero.

It extended Nadal's unbeaten run in the event to 30 matches as he seeks his sixth successive Monte Carlo title.

"This result against probably one of the toughest opponents right now on clay is a very good one," said Nadal.

Nadal, who will face David Ferrer in the semi-finals, is on course to meet Novak Djokovic in the final after the Serb beat David Nalbandian 6-2 6-3.

World number two Djokovic, 22, took advantage of a raft of Nalbandian errors, particularly in the first set, to win through and ensure he would be the only non-Spanish player in the last four.

This is certainly one of the best matches I've played this year.

Novak Djokovic

But the victory also owed much to Djokovic's strong serve and the world number two said: "This is certainly one of the best matches I've played this year.

"I had a very difficult opponent who has come back great in the last six, seven weeks and has been playing great tennis."

Djokovic will now face sixth seed Fernando Verdasco, who beat Spanish compatriot Albert Montanes 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 in their quarter-final.

Verdasco had to hold off a spirited Montanes fight back, though, after allowing a 5-1 lead in the second set slip - eventually reeling off six straight games to book his place in the last four.

Nadal's earlier match was delayed for 30 minutes in the opening set by light rain, but he quickly secured a break for 5-4 and served out to clinch the first set.

The Spaniard started the second set with a break, and a fine cross-court forehand winner saw him break again for a 4-1 lead.

606: DEBATE

Though Ferrero saved two match points in the penultimate game with some unlikely angles, Nadal completed victory in 95 minutes.

Ferrero, one of the most feared clay-court players before the advent of the masterful Nadal, won this title in 2002 and 2003, and prepared for this year's tournament with back-to-back clay titles in the Americas in February.

It was only his second defeat on clay this year against 17 victories but Nadal took his record over the 30-year-old to 5-1.

"I think on clay, he is at the same high level. Of course, he has some bad matches on clay," said Ferrero.

"But still he puts a thousand balls in court and it's difficult to get a winner. So his bad days are good."

Ferrer reached the last four in Monte Carlo for the first time with a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (7-1) win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Ferrer, the 11th seed, served for the match at 5-4 against Kohlschreiber but the world number 33 broke back and the second set went to a tie-break.

However, Ferrer dominated that and the match ended when his opponent misfired a routine backhand into the stands as the skies faded to grey.



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see also
Nadal marches on in Monte Carlo
15 Apr 10 |  Tennis
Murray crashes to dismal defeat
14 Apr 10 |  Tennis


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