Nadal upset by Wawrinka as Federer, Djokovic advance
By Jacopo Lo Monaco
ROME (Reuters) - Seven-time Italian Open winner Rafa Nadal lost 7-6(7) 6-2 to Stan Wawrinka on Friday meaning there will be an all-Swiss semi-final after Roger Federer crushed Thomas Berdych 6-3 6-3.
Top seed Novak Djokovic dropped a set for the third successive match before reaching the last four with a 6-3 3-6 6-1 win over Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori.
Nadal, the number four seed, twice earned breaks in a tight first set that lasted 76 minutes but slipped through his fingers in a 16-point tiebreak in which he held a 6-2 advantage.
His trademark forehand again let him down at crucial moments and, as doubts crept in, eighth-seeded Wawrinka took control by winning five of the six second set games that went to deuce.
Wawrinka and Federer meet for the first time since their ATP World Tour semi-final in which the 17-time grand slam champion saved four match points before winning in a third set tiebreak.
Second seed Federer fell behind early against Berdych only for the Czech to double fault and give a break away in the sixth game. Federer handled the windy conditions better and was almost untouchable on first serve, winning 86 percent of the points.
"Thomas can play much better than this," Federer told Sky Sports Italia after stepping closer to winning one of the two Masters 1000 tournaments he has never claimed.
Defending champion Djokovic battled past Nishikori but said he had let his game and concentration slip in the second set. Continued...