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Rediff.com  » Sports » Italian Open: Sara Errani upsets Li Na; Nadal fends off Murray

Italian Open: Sara Errani upsets Li Na; Nadal fends off Murray

Last updated on: May 17, 2014 12:20 IST

Italian Open: Sara Errani upsets Li Na; Djokovic subdues Ferrer

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In the women's Italian Open at the same atmospheric Foro Italico venue home fans were given something to shout about when Sara Errani reached the semi-finals with a superb 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over World No 2 Li Na on Friday.

It was her first career win against a top-three ranked opponent and helped her reach her second consecutive Italian Open semi-final. She was joined in the semis by 11th seed Ana Ivanovic, who followed up her win over Maria Sharapova with a thrilling 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

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Image: Sara Errani of Italy in action
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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'This is a win that means a lot to me'

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Rafael Nadal overcame a first-set thrashing by Andy Murray to reach the semi-finals of the Italian Open with a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory that kept him on course to meet rival Novak Djokovic in Sunday's climax.

World No 1 and seven-time winner Nadal was a set down after only 37 minutes and trailed 4-2 in the decider, but kept his composure to book a last-four clash with rising talent Grigor Dimitrov.

"Every win is special but this is a win that means a lot to me... I feel like I played as well as I have done for a while," Nadal said.

"I didn't ever think I was playing that badly despite being 6-1 down. I felt more positive than in the last match.

"I didn't have any negative thoughts inside me tonight. I closed out the match at the first opportunity and that's because of the positive energy I had."

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Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Andy Murray of Great Britain
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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'I feel like I had the right shots in that match but messed them up'

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Wimbledon champion Murray won the first five games in a blistering opening in which he limited Nadal to a handful of opportunities, including three wasted break points in the third game.

Yet Nadal came back strongly at the start of the second set, winning the first three games after Murray took a knock to his right knee stretching for a shot that hindered his movement around the court.

Murray was visibly less mobile after that and Nadal powered on to level the match.

It looked as though it would be plain sailing from then on but Murray fought back to lead a pulsating final set, only for Nadal to break right back and take match with a burst of nine points in a row.

"I'm disappointed with the game I played at 4-2, I was still in a good position but you don't get many chances against him. He finished very well and was physically stronger than me in the end," Murray said.

"Maybe I rushed a bit. I feel like I had the right shots in that match but messed them up."

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Image: Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Tags: Murray , Nadal

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Djokovic subdues Ferrer

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Novak Djokovic stayed on course for his third Rome Masters title although he was forced to dig deep to beat a tenacious David Ferrer 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a high-quality quarter-final on Friday.

The Serb looked to be in full control when he led 5-2 in the opening set but Spaniard Ferrer fought back to 5-5 and although he lost the opener the tone was set for an intense duel.

Djokovic eventually prevailed on his second match point having double-faulted on his first, the point in between being a 38-stroke baseline rally of extraordinary quality.

Djokovic will face Milos Raonic in the semi-finals after the Canadian beat Roger Federer's conqueror Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

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Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating David Ferrer
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Djokovic forged ahead in deciding set

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Having taken the first set Djokovic was 3-2 ahead in the second set when a brief spell of rain halted play.

Two games later the relentless Ferrer broke and went on to serve out the second set in clinical fashion.

Djokovic forged ahead in the deciding set but Ferrer refused to be subdued by the more powerful Serb, scrambling back to 3-3.

Ferrer then had a sniff of a chance in the next game but Djokovic held firm and then broke to lead 5-3.

Djokovic wobbled on his first match point, serving a double-fault but he was not phased and went on to win a punishing baseline exchange in the next point and claimed victory when Ferrer hit a tired-looking backhand wide.

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Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Dimitrov reached his first masters Series semi-final

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On the other side of the draw Grigor Dimitrov reached his first masters Series semi-final when German veteran Tommy Haas retired from their match with a shoulder injury.

Celebrating his 23rd birthday Dimitrov was presented with a cake on the court which his coach Roger Rasheed splatted all over the Bulgarian's face.


Image: Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in action
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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