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Nadal Sets Andujar Semi-Final Date In Rio, Ferrer Overcomes Bellucci

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dolgopolov© RioOpen/FOTOJUMPAlexandr Dolgopolov cooled off an in-form Fabio Fognini.

Spanish dominance of the Golden Swing continued on Friday, with three Spaniards advancing to the semi-finals at the inaugural Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv.

A week after a trio of players from the Iberian nation reached the semis at the Copa Claro, in Buenos Aires, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, second-seed David Ferrer and Pablo Andujar moved into the final four at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro.

Nadal breezed by unseeded Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-0 in 75 minutes. The Mallorca native served at 70 per cent for the match, overcoming a 0/40 service game midway through the first set and firing 24 winners to oust the World No. 48.

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It was the second consecutive match in which Nadal had relinquished three games or fewer after dispatching countryman Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-2 in the second round. He will look to book a spot in his third final in three tournaments this year when he faces Andujar in Saturday’s semi-finals. Nadal leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head 2-0 after registering straight-set wins at Roland Garros in 2011 and in the semis of the Madrid Masters last year.

Andujar had little trouble with compatriot Tommy Robredo, routing the Spaniard 6-1, 6-1 in exactly an hour. Andujar saved all five break points faced and won 58 per cent of return points to clinch his ninth ATP World Tour semi-final berth.

The eighth seed has dropped just nine games through the quarter-finals after opening with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Julian Reister in the first round and receiving a walkover following Martin Klizan’s withdrawal prior to the second round. 

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Second seed David Ferrer overcame drama on the court and in the stadium on Friday to reach the semi-finals. After rallying from the loss of the opening set against Thomaz Bellucci, Ferrer then kept his concentration through a lengthy third set delay as the floodlights went out to prevail 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Ferrer claimed his 15th win of the season as he set a semi-final clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov, whom he leads 7-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. The Spaniard is on an eight-match winning streak since reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Berdych), capturing his 21st ATP World Tour title last week in Buenos Aires (d. Fognini). 

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Dolgopolov knocked out the in-form Fabio Fognini on Friday to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final of the season. The Ukrainian improved to a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Fognini as he dismissed the third-seeded Italian 6-1, 6-1 in 66 minutes.

Fognini came into Rio at a career-high World No. 14 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after winning the Vina del Mar title (d. Mayer) and finishing runner-up in Buenos Aires (l. to Ferrer) in the past two weeks. Dolgopolov broke the Italian six times though, hitting 12 aces and winning 64 per cent of his service points.

The 25-year-old Dolgopolov is bidding to reach his first final since October 2012 in Valencia (l. to Ferrer) and will face second seed David Ferrer.

Top Seeds Beaten In Semis
Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah reached their second ATP World Tour doubles final in three weeks as they ousted top seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-4, 6-2 in the semi-finals. The duo will contest their third final of the season after runner-up efforts in Brisbane (l. to Fyrstenberg/Nestor) and at the start of the Latin American Golden Swing in Vina del Mar (l. to Marach/Mergea).

In the final, Cabal and Farah will play second seeds David Marrero and Marcelo Melo, who beat Italians Daniele Bracciali and Fabio Fognini 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 in 69 minutes. The Spanish/Brazilian tandem are through to their first final together in their third tournament.

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