Rafael Nadal remained perfect in his return to tennis this week. Playing in his first event in seven months, Nadal hasn’t dropped a set in two matches after cruising to victory today over countryman Daniel Gimeo-Traver 6-1, 6-4.
“Today I had more confidence than the other days,” said the 26-year-old Nadal. “That is positive. It gives me confidence, and reasons to believe that I’m on the right way. I’m happy to win in singles against a tough opponent like Dani and to reach the semi-finals after seven months.
“In this tournament I had a good feeling. The crowd gave me their support all the time. It helps a lot when you come with a bad feeling.”
Next for Nadal is Australian Open quarterfinalist Jeremy Chardy at 10pm local time. Horacio Zeballos and Carlos Berlocq will contest the earlier semifinal in an all-Argentina affair.
Nadal later teamed with Juan Monaco to reach the doubles final where Sunday the good friends will face Italians Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace in the final.
Chardy’s countrymen had a big day in Montpellier with three French players reaching the semifinal stage. Tomorrow Richard Gasquet, a winner today over Julien Benneteau, meets Jarkko Nieminen for the right to face either Michael Llodra or Benoit Paire in the Sunday final.
“I am very happy to be at this stage of the competition especially after defeating two tough players like Gael and Julien,” said Gasquet who has lost just one match this year. “I didn’t play my best tennis today. Perhaps I was a bit too passive but I got the job done. Tomorrow, I know it will be difficult. I had a very tough match against him last year in Bangkok but I will give everything to try to reach my first final here in Montpellier.”
In Zagreb, the semifinals feature three of the top four seeds. No. 1 Marin Cilic faces No. 3 Mikhail Youzhny while No. 4 Jurgen Melzer, winner of his 300th career ATP match today, tests Robin Haase.
“Of course it shows that I have had a good career so far, and when I started playing tennis I never dreamed of winning 300 matches on tour, especially reaching the Top 10,” said Melzer. “Winning 300 matches is something big.”
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