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Ferrer Stuns Nadal To Reach Semis

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

David Ferrer joined an elite club Friday as he became just the third player in 11 years to defeat Rafael Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. In the all-Spanish contest, Ferrer produced a gutsy, attacking display to beat eight-time champion Nadal 7-6(1), 6-4 in the quarter-finals. 

"It is special," said Ferrer. "Last time I beat Rafael on a clay court was 10 years ago. I had to wait 10 years to beat him on a clay court! I am happy because I am in the semi-final and because I am playing very good this week.  Maybe this week, it was my best week of the season."

Ferrer is looking to reach the final at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament for the second time, following a runner-up finish to Nadal in 2011, and goes on to face Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka. Ferrer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 7-5, but has lost their past two meetings.

"It's going to be a tough match, sure," said Ferrer. "Stan is playing unbelievable this season with a lot of power in his shots. I have to play similar like today or yesterday to have a chance."

The 27-year-old Nadal suffered his earliest loss since his 2003 debut at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, when he was beaten in the third round by Guillermo Coria. From 2005-12, the Mallorcan won eight successive titles, before being dethroned in the final last year by Novak Djokovic.

"Losing hurts everywhere. On clay always a little bit more," said Nadal. "I am not happy today about what I did. Not very happy about the way that I played the second set after losing the first. I didn't play with the right intensity at the beginning of the second. I give him big opportunity at the beginning of the second. I cannot do that."

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Ferrer recorded just his sixth win in 27 attempts against Nadal, claiming the hard-fought victory in two hours and 14 minutes. In the 85-minute first set, the pair swapped four service breaks before Nadal saved four break points to hold serve for the first time in the sixth game. Ferrer saved a break point in the 11th game as the set went to a tie-break. Hampered by a spate of unforced errors, totaling 27 in the first set, Nadal quickly fell behind in the tie-break and could not recover.

Ferrer maintained his level in the second set and breaks in the third and seventh games put the Valencia native in a commanding 5-2 lead. Nadal fought hard to get back to 5-4, and looked set to put more pressure on Ferrer as he served for the match for the second time at 30/30. A cool forehand winner gave Ferrer match point, though, and he converted as Nadal netted a backhand.

"With 5-4, of course I was nervous," said Ferrer. "But all the players, we are nervous when we have the game to win the match. Rafa is not a machine. Sometimes he can play not so good always. Well, maybe today he didn't play his best tennis, and I played very good."

Nadal committed 44 unforced errors, while Ferrer reaped the benefits of attacking at the net, winning the point 13 times from 18 advances.

"When you play tennis, you can lose, you can win. When the opponent is doing things better than you, the normal thing is you lose. That's what happened today," said Nadal. "I didn't play the right way. I didn't play with the right intensity with my forehand. I played too short. I give him the chance to have control of the point almost all the time. He did much better than me, so I just congratulate him."

The 32-year-old Ferrer is looking to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having won his first at the BNP Paribas Masters in 2012 (d. Janowicz). He is also hunting his second ATP World Tour title of the season, following victory on clay in Buenos Aires in February (d. Fognini).

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