Nadal devours Ferrer after shaky start to reach last four

Wed Jun 4, 2014 5:08pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Defending champion Rafa Nadal survived David Ferrer's early fury to reach the French Open semi-finals with a 4-6 6-4 6-0 6-1 win in a repeat of last year's all-Spanish final on Wednesday.

World number one Nadal, chasing a record-extending ninth Roland Garros title, had no answer to the fifth seed's pace on court Suzanne Lenglen in the first set.

But Ferrer, one of three men who have beaten the claycourt machine on his favourite surface this year, ran out of steam in the second before Nadal devoured him in the third.

Nadal won 10 games in a row - and 13 of the last 14 - to wrap up victory on his first match point, setting up a meeting with Wimbledon champion Andy Murray who beat local favourite Gael Monfils 6-4 6-1 4-6 1-6 6-0 in the last eight.

"David on clay? He is one of the best players of the world. He gets better and better. I'm sorry for him today," Nadal told reporters.

"In the first set I made too many mistakes with my backhand," he said.

Ferrer was on fire in the opening set, piercing Nadal's concrete defence with his devastating forehand.

Nadal, who has a 64-1 record on the Paris clay, realised in the opening set he was in for a dogfight.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his men's quarter-final match against his compatriot David Ferrer at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 4, 2014.REUTERS/Stephane Mahe