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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Rafa zips through in Tokyo to keep Messi date

Rafa zips through in Tokyo to keep Messi date

Last updated on: October 08, 2010 17:00 IST

World number one Rafael Nadal sped past Russia's Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Japan Open and keep a special appointment on Friday.

The Spaniard revealed he wanted to go to watch Japan play Argentina in a soccer friendly in Saitama -- over an hour's drive away -- in the evening and catch up with pal Lionel Messi.

Frenchman Gael Monfils ousted second seed Andy Roddick 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 in a pulsating quarter-final at the $1.2 million tournament in Tokyo earlier in the day.

Wearing a canary yellow shirt, Nadal came out all guns blazing and after safely pocketing the first set, the Spaniard blitzed through the second to win in just 72 minutes.

"I want to see Japan and Argentina after I have some dinner and rest," this year's triple Grand Slam winner told reporters as he munched on a packet of biscuits from his native Mallorca.

"I have some friends on the Argentina team. It will be an honour to see them and watch two good teams play.

"I still have lots of work to win this tournament but it would be very positive for me and a big boost for the rest of the season," added Nadal, making his debut in Japan.


Tursunov had no answer to Nadal's superior speed and power, performing wonders just to add respectability to the scoreline by taking four games off the world number one in the first set.

Nadal let rip in the second, running Tursunov ragged with some brutal hitting, finally putting the Russian out of his misery with a whipped forehand down the line.

Roddick saved three match points but Monfils superbly threaded a forehand down the line on his fourth chance in the tiebreak, triggering chest-thumping celebrations.

"I tried to control the points," said fifth seed Monfils. "I tried to be aggressive, tried to push him, come to the net a bit more."

Monfils will play Czech Radek Stepanek in the semi-finals after Finland's Jarkko Nieminen pulled out with a fever before a ball was hit.

Roddick recovered from love-40 at 5-4 down in the deciding set but watched in horror in the tiebreak as Monfils chased down a drop shot and found the gap to win in just under three hours.

"The result is disappointing but it's the best match I've played since the spring," said world number 10 Roddick.

"If play like that the rest of the fall I'm confident of putting some points on the board."

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