Nadal beats Gasquet, faces Ferrer in Paris semi-finals

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Rafael Nadal ATP Tennis

Richard Gasquet, the only Frenchman to make it into the quarter-finals of BNP Paribas Masters 2013, could not capitalize on the home advantage in Paris as he was outclassed by World no. 1 Rafael Nadal in straight sets. The ninth-seeded local hero pegged back after an early loss of serve in the opener, but got in trouble again in the seventh game where he gifted Rafa a pair of break points with a wild miss on the backhand. He then tried to bail himself out with a net attack, but was outsmarted by the Spaniard who executed a fine passing shot to restore his one break lead. In the follow-up game Gasquet misplaced three returns before the top seed smashed an ace to go 5-3 ahead – he served out the set with a minimum of fuss two games later.

In the second set the French player struggled even more as he conceded far too many unforced errors  (21-9 in total) to pose a threat to an extremely consistent opponent. The top seed thus gladly converted on two break points in the beginning of the set to construct a 4-0 lead. Gasquet then enjoyed a few bright moments and finally managed to hold after building some clever rallies, yet the magic was soon gone as Nadal rushed to close out the match which he did by sending a forehand winner past his disenchanted challenger after one hour and seven minutes of play. He progressed to the semis by winning 6-1, 6-4.

Reigning champion David Ferrer had a much harder day at the office as he needed to recover from a first set loss to edge out sixth seed Tomas Berdych. The Czech broke as early as the first game and stayed in control for the rest of the opener. The third seed Spaniard regrouped fast and escaped to 4-1 in the following set, yet his adversary got back into the game and Ferrer would only level the terms after clinching the second break of the set, thus avoiding a tie-break drama. In the subsequent decider the Spanish number two broke to love in the fourth game and went on to land his semi-final spot with a 4-6, 5-7, 6-3 triumph after two hours and five minutes of tennis at Court Central in Paris. He is trailing Nadal 4-20 in head-to-head clashes with three of his four victories coming on hard courts. Rafa was better in all of their ten meetings since quarter-finals of Australian Open 2011.

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