Nikolay Davydenko’s quick return from a two-month foot injury lay-off will reach its peak on Saturday when the Russian faces world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on clay in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open.
On Friday Davydenko beat Radek Stepanek, snapping a three-match losing streak against the Czech with a 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2 win.
“I’m not thinking about tomorrow yet,” Davydenko told the media. “I haven’t played that many matches this year yet, so I want to enjoy this moment. I’m starting to find my game and I know I can play better.”
Davydenko played only his second tournament of the year last week at Monte Carlo, losing to Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. He has lost both his career claycourt meetings with Nadal.
“It’s a secret,” said Davydenko of his game plan against the Spaniard. “I’m not going to tell the press, because tomorrow you’ll print it and then Rafa will read it and know all the secrets.”
David Ferrer also advanced to the semis, winning the all-Spanish battle against Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4. Ferrer will next face Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, who upset No. 2 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
According to the ATP, this is the first time since 1977 that four of the top five seeds have advanced to the semifinals in Barcelona. That year it was the Top 4 seeds in Bjorn Borg, Manuel Orantes, Eddie Dibbs and Wojtek Fibak.
Nadal received some extra rest on Thursday when David Nalbandian withdrew from their quarterfinal match citing an injury.
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