• French Open, Day 11

Nadal marches into semi-finals in Paris

ESPN staff
June 6, 2012

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Rafael Nadal claimed his 50th win at Roland Garros as he sealed his place in the French Open semi-finals with victory over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.

Almagro presented the defending champion with his toughest test yet, but Nadal remained on course for a record seventh title in Paris with a 7-6(4) 6-2 6-3 triumph. The No. 12 seed took the game to Nadal and hit more winners than his opponent, but Nadal soon found an extra gear as he motored to victory.

Nadal has been in imperious form in Paris and is yet to drop a set, but he found a spiky customer in his compatriot, who started with intent, attempting to dictate the rallies. With both players looking comfortable on serve, the first set headed for a tiebreak - and although Almagro recovered from a shaky start he was helpless to prevent Nadal claiming his 46th consecutive set on the red clay.

Almagro hung on to keep himself on level terms in the opening stages of the second set, but Nadal was clinical as he grabbed a break for a 3-1 lead. He then snuffed out any hope of a comeback, fending off break point with a smash to tighten his grip on the match.

Faced with a two-set deficit, Almagro could have been forgiven for accepting the inevitable, but he continued to fight, forging a couple of break points on the Nadal serve. But a first double fault of the match proved costly and Nadal pounced on one short ball, turning defence into attack with devastating efficiency, breaking for a 5-3 lead before serving out for the match.

He will now face compatriot David Ferrer in the last four, after Ferrer defeated Andy Murray in four sets.

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