ATP Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal remains on course for his seventh straight final
Rafael Nadal reached the semi-finals of the Madrid Open after coming out on top against David Ferrer 4-6 7-6 6-0.
Last Updated: 10/05/13 9:25pm
The world No 5, who is looking to win the tournament for a third time, needed two hours and 36 minutes to wrap up his victory.
Both players treated the home crowd to some high-octane tennis, but Nadal came out the stronger in the end to improve his career record against Ferrer to 18-4.
Ferrer started the brighter and was quick to outwork his opponent, playing to the Nadal forehand out wide before breaking the 26-year-old decisively in the fourth game of the opening set.
He eventually took it in 51 minutes to claim his first set on the red dirt against Nadal since Rome in 2005.
The second set was error-strewn with both players making uncharacteristic errors on serve, but Nadal recovered from a set and a break down to send the match into a decisive set.
Nadal struck first in the third game of a topsy-turvy second as he broke Ferrer to love, but the 31-year-old hit back in the very next game, making the break with a whipped crosscourt forehand winner.
In the sixth game, Ferrer, who came into the clash winless against his compatriot on clay since 2004, broke for the fourth time in the match to move 4-2 ahead and looked on course for an upset.
However, Nadal broke straight back forcing fourth-ranked Ferrer into a catalogue of glaring errors to make it 5-5 with consecutive breaks before going onto edge the set 7-3 on a tie-break after a marathon 71 minutes.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion was unstoppable in the deciding set as Ferrer's belief disappeared.
Nadal consistently pressured Ferrer into basic mistakes to break three more times and set up a semi-final meeting with Pablo Andujar, defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3 7-5.
Nadal will be searching for his seventh straight final since returning from injury after improving his record to 29 wins and two losses this year.