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Eight-time champ Nadal, Murray to meet in French Open semis

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The Sports Network
6/4/2014 4:07:40 PM
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In a rematch of last year's all-Spanish final, eight-time champion Rafael Nadal once again beat David Ferrer, while another quarterfinal on Wednesday saw Andy Murray hold off French crowd favorite Gael Monfils at Roland Garros.

The world No. 1 Nadal improved to 64-1 lifetime at the French Open with a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 victory over his fifth-seeded compatriot Ferrer on Court Lenglen. The match started late in the day after a three-hour rain delay prevented the ladies from taking to the famed clay courts at Chatrier and Lenglen on Day 11.

Nadal's semifinal opponent on Friday will be the seventh-seeded Wimbledon champion Murray, who outlasted the 23rd-seeded Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 on Chatrier.

After rolling past four unseeded players, Nadal faced his first big test at the 2014 French championships when he came up against the world No. 5 Ferrer.

Ferrer stunned Nadal by taking the first set, but Nadal promptly rebounded to claim the second. The bout then turned into a runaway affair for the reigning champ, who also had to beat out impending darkness in Paris for his 33rd straight match win here.

The 13-time Grand Slam winner captured a fourth straight French Open title and eighth overall championship here a year ago by besting Ferrer in the finale.

Nadal, who turned 28 on Tuesday, is now 22-6 lifetime against the 32- year-old Ferrer, including a perfect 4-0 mark at Roland Garros. Ferrer upset Nadal on some clay in Monte Carlo back in April.

The amazing Nadal is trying to become the first man to capture five straight French Open championships.

The Murray-Monfils match was a see-saw affair, as the British star pounced on the Frenchman for a two-sets-to-love lead, only to see the 2008 French Open semifinalist Monfils turn things around by stunningly taking sets three and four.

After the fourth set, Murray sat in his chair and complained to the tournament referee about the darkening conditions at 9:20 p.m. local time, but it was decided the two men would play on.

Murray appeared to struggle mightily with some sore legs in the fourth set against Monfils, but he showed no signs of problems in a lopsided fifth, which was played out in a mere 24 minutes as the stunned French faithful looked on.

The 27-year-old Murray will appear in his second French Open semi. He missed the event last year due to injury.

Nadal and Murray will meet for a 20th time on the ATP World Tour, with the mighty Spaniard leading their all-time series, 14-5, including a 5-0 record on clay. Nadal beat the two-time Grand Slam titlist Murray in a French Open semi three years ago.

Friday's other semifinal will pit second-seeded former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic against 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis, who will appear in his first-ever major semi. Djokovic will perform in his sixth French Open final four (1-4) and is 4-1 in his career versus Gulbis.

The six-time major champion Djokovic was the French Open runner-up two years ago and still needs this title to complete a career Grand Slam. And if he wins the championship this week he would also reclaim the world No. 1 ranking.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is a 22-time Grand Slam semifinalist.

The 25-year-old Gulbis is currently riding a nine-match winning streak and already owns a pair of titles in France this season, including one in Nice just one day before the French Open commenced. He's 13-0 on French soil for the year.

Gulbis has not lost to a seeded player at a Grand Slam event since the 2010 Australian Open, compiling a 5-0 mark.



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