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Rediff.com  » Sports » Nadal cruises into Barcelona semis; Tsitsipas stuns Thiem

Nadal cruises into Barcelona semis; Tsitsipas stuns Thiem

Last updated on: April 28, 2018 10:04 IST

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a backhand against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during their match on Day 5 of the Barcelona Open. Photograph: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal extended his astonishing winning run on clay to 42 consecutive sets as he reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open with a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Slovakia's Martin Klizan on Friday.

The defending champion will face David Goffin on Saturday after the Belgian beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2.

 

Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas also reached the last four after overwhelming third seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-2 and the 19-year-old will next face Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, who served up another upset by defeating second seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6(4).

World number 140 Klizan, who had knocked out Novak Djokovic in the second round, came within a point of being the first player since Thiem in May 2017 to win a set against the Mallorcan on the slow surface but the world number one's famed battling skills denied him that moment of glory.

After romping through the opening set, Nadal lost his focus and surrendered his serve at the start of the second set. But just as Klizan appeared to be on the verge of delivering a psychological blow, the 10-times Barcelona champion saved the set point at 4-5 down before breaking back to level.

He held in the next game to take the lead for the first time in the second set and then broke a tired Klizan to clinch his place in the semis.

"He played very aggressively and caused me a lot of discomfort... he was unpredictable and that caused me confusion. It was tough, but the important thing was not to fail," Nadal told a news conference.

Tsitsipas converted four out of eight break points and made Thiem pay for an error-strewn display to secure the biggest win of his career.

Thiem began the contest strongly and came within a point of going up 3-0 in the opening set but allowed Tsitsipas to fight back. The Greek won a decisive break to go ahead at 5-3 after a double fault by Thiem and then served out the set.

Tsitsipas broke at 2-2 in the second set after more wayward hitting by Thiem and the world number 63 pulled away to seal the match.

Carreno Busta, seeded fifth in Barcelona, saw off Dimitrov to reach his second semi-final of the year and level his head-to-head with the Bulgarian at three wins apiece.

Vandeweghe stuns Halep to enter Stuttgart semis

American CoCo Vandeweghe shocked world number one Simona Halep 6-4, 6-1 on Friday to move into the semi-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

Vandeweghe fired five aces and 19 winners to exert her dominance in the clay-court event despite previously stating her dislike for the surface.

US Open semi-finalist Vandeweghe raced to a 5-4 lead in the opening set on the back of her strong service game. The 26-year-old then sealed a decisive break to clinch the first set and gain the upper hand in the contest.

Despite stepping up her attack, Romania's Halep struggled to find a way past her opponent who cruised through the second set to reach the last four of a clay-court event for the first time.

Vandeweghe next takes on sixth seed Caroline Garcia, who later overcame Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2.

Anett Kontaveit emerged victorious 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-4 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and the Estonian next takes on fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who came from behind to beat a determined Jelena Ostapenko 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in the evening session.

Wozniacki retires from Istanbul quarter-finals with injury

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki was forced to retire from her Istanbul Cup quarter-final against Pauline Parmentier on Friday with an abdominal injury.

Wozniacki won the opening set before France's Parmentier fought back to level the contest at 4-6, 6-3. Unable to continue, Australian Open champion Wozniacki conceded the match before the start of the decider.

Up next for 32-year-old Parmentier is Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu, who battled past Donna Vekic 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-1.

After being broken in the first game of the opening set, Wozniacki took a 4-1 lead before her opponent drew level. The Dane then switched gears to claim the opening set.

Seeking her maiden victory over Wozniacki, Parmentier raced ahead 3-0 in the second set. Wozniacki took a medical timeout to deal with her injury but struggled thereafter and called it quits after Parmentier won the second set.

Earlier, twice Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova made 21 unforced errors in her 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 defeat by Slovenia's Polona Hercog.

Hercog, 27, will take on Maria Sakkari of Greece who beat Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus 6-3, 7-6(6).

Bedene, Seppi through to semi-finals in Hungary

Aljaz Bedene overcame a mid-match blip to beat Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 6-3 2-6 6-2 and advance to the semi-finals of the Hungarian Open on Friday.

"I'm fighting, that's the most important thing," fifth seed Bedene said after reaching his sixth tour-level semi-final.

The world number 57 will take on Australia's John Millman or Yannick Maden next. Millman was ahead 2-6 6-1 5-4 when play was suspended due to darkness.

Italy's Andreas Seppi, seeking his first title since 2012, fought past a determined Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 7-6(3) in another quarter-final earlier in the day.

"I think I played a solid match. I was very focused," Seppi said. "I played very well in the important moments."

The world number 55 next meets compatriot Marco Cecchinato. The lucky loser advanced to the last four after upsetting seventh seeded Jan-Lennard Struff 5-7 6-4 6-2.

Source:
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