Rafael Nadal won his 36th and 37th matches in a row Friday in Barcelona. The 7-time tournament champion had to double-up after Thursday rain, and the Spanish great had little trouble first beating Benoit Paire 7-6, 6-2 and then in the quarters Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-0.
“I played much better this afternoon than in the morning,” said Nadal. “I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals another time in a very important tournament. I’m enjoying the week playing here. I love the tournament. I know everybody well. It feels like home, always.”
Awaiting Nadal tomorrow in the semifinals will be big-hitting Milos Raonic. Like Nadal, Raonic also had to win two sets. After a tricky 6-2, 7-6 win over Ernests Gulbis, Raonic needed a third set breaker to outlast Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(2). Robredo had beaten Tomas Berdych earlier in the day.
“Rafa on clay is tougher than Rafa in general. But I’m Milos, so I got to go out there and do my job. I need to try and make him adjust to me more than myself to him.”
He is Milos and this Milos is 0-2 against Rafa, losing both matches at the Tokyo event.
In the other semifinal, Philipp Kohlshreiber takes on Nicolas Almagro.
Out West in Bucharest, Janko Tipsarevic’s struggles continued. After losing today to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in three, the 10th-ranked Serb has just three match wins against seven losses since the Australian Open.
G-Lo now meets Florian Mayer in one semi while Lukas Rosol collides with Gilles Simon.
On the WTA at Stuttgart, after spending over 3 hours in her Thursday win, Maria Sharapova played another tough 3-setter Friday this time outlasting fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. The win moves Maria in to the semis against local favorite Angelique Kerber.
“It was another really tough match today, and I really had to push myself to the end to win it,” the defending champion Sharapova said. “I’m really happy I managed to win – why shouldn’t I be? I feel like there were some opportunities in the second set and I gave them away a little bit, but I knew I just had to give myself a little bit more energy in the third set, and turn it up a bit. Thankfully I closed it out in the end.”
In the second semi, American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands, a winner today over German Sabine Lisicki, takes on Li Na.
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