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Nadal, Ferrer, Berdych In Madrid QF Action Friday

Madrid, Spain

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal takes on Tomas Berdych in the first singles match on Friday.

• SEMI-FINAL BID: The 56-man draw at the Mutua Madrid Open has been whittled down to just eight players, who are all in action on Day 6. Headlining Friday’s order of play are three of the world’s top 10 players – Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. Nadal and Berdych pair off for the 21st time with the world No. 1 having won 17 of their 20 meetings, including the last 16 in a row. Ferrer will look to advance to the SF here for the second time when he goes up against Ernests Gulbis. The pair has met just twice in the last seven years with the Spaniard winning on both occasions. The other QF match-ups see Robert Bautista Agut take on the in-form Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo and Kei Nishikori face off with Feliciano Lopez

ON THE CUSP OF HISTORY: Nishikori will be bidding for his 13th win in succession when he takes on Lopez. The Japanese No. 1 will rise to No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the expense of John Isner with a win today, unless Gulbis goes on to win the title. If the 24 year old achieves the feat he will become the first player from his country to break the top 10. The last Asian player to rank in the top 10 was Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan on Mar. 29, 2004 at No. 10.

SPANIARDS IN THE CAPITAL: This marks the first time in tournament history (since 2002) that the host nation have four representatives in the QFs: Nadal, Ferrer, Lopez and first-time ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist Bautista Agut. Spain have 10 players ranked inside the top 50 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week – more than any other country. 

QUALIFIERS IN MADRID: Giraldo, who posted the first top 10 win of his career with victory over Andy Murray in the 3R, is bidding to become the second qualifier to advance to the SF in Madrid. Fabrice Santoro achieved the feat at the inaugural event in 2002 (d. Federer in QF, l. to J Novak in SF). The only other qualifier to reach the QF here was Ivo Karlovic in 2005 (l. to Nalbandian). 

GOING FOR FOUR: Nadal remains on course for a fourth Madrid title. With Federer and Djokovic’s withdrawal, and Murray’s defeat, Nadal remains the only former champion in the draw. For the past nine years (2005-13), he has won at least two European clay-court titles ahead of Roland Garros. The last time he lost more than two matches on clay in a season was 2004 (14-3). 

22 NOT OUT: Bob and Mike Bryan are going for their 23rd win in a row today (reached 25 in 2013). 

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[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [6] Tomas Berdych (CZE)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 17-3
2005 Bastad (Sweden) Clay F Rafael Nadal 2-6 6-2 6-4
2005 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R64 Tomas Berdych 6-7(4) 6-2 7-6(3)
2006 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada Hard R16 Tomas Berdych 6-1 3-6 6-2
2006 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Hard QF Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-6(6)
2007 ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo (Monaco) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-0 7-5
2007 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass QF Rafael Nadal 7-6(1) 6-4 6-2
2008 ATP Masters Series Miami (U.S.A.) Hard SF Rafael Nadal 7-6(6) 6-2
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard QF Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-5
2009 ESP vs. CZE DC Final (Spain) Clay RR Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-0 6-2
2010 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard QF Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-6(4)
2010 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass F Rafael Nadal 6-3 7-5 6-4
2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (England) Hard RR Rafael Nadal 7-6(3) 6-1
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard QF Rafael Nadal 6-2 3-6 6-3
2012 Australian Open (Australia) Hard QF Rafael Nadal 6-7(5) 7-6(6) 6-4 6-3
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay QF Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-5
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-5
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-4
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard SF Rafael Nadal 7-5 7-6(4)
2013 Beijing (China) Hard SF Rafael Nadal 4-2 ret
2013 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Hard RR Rafael Nadal 6-4 1-6 6-3

• Nadal reached a ninth QF in Madrid with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Jarkko Nieminen in the 3R. 
• Nadal took sole ownership of 11th place on the Open Era match wins list with a comfortable 6-1, 6-0 victory over Juan Monaco in the 2R. The Spaniard, who converted on six of 10 BP opportunities, surpassed the great Arthur Ashe (683-225) in career wins. The next player in his sights is Boris Becker, who sits 10th on 713 wins.
• Nadal returns to Madrid for the 12th time. He has lifted the title here on three occasions: 2005 (d. Ljubicic), 2010 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Wawrinka). He has failed to reach the QF just once in the last nine years – in 2012 when he fell to Verdasco in the 3R. 
• In his last outing on the ATP World Tour in Barcelona, Nadal lost to Nicolas Almagro for the first time in 11 meetings in the QF. 
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. 
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open final in February. The Spaniard equaled Guillermo Vilas in seventh place on the Open Era titles list with the victory. 
• In Monte-Carlo, Nadal became just the 11th player in the Open Era to win at least 300 matches on clay when he defeated Seppi in the 3R (l. to Ferrer in QF). Countryman Carlos Moya was the last player to win at least 300 career matches on the surface in 2007. 
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time. 
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77). 
• Nadal is contesting the 63rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF of his career and third of the season. He is bidding to reach his 53rd Masters 1000 SF (52-10 in QFs) and seventh in Madrid (6-2 in QF).
• Berdych reached his 30th ATP Masters 1000 QF with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Grigor Dimitrov, breaking the Bulgarian’s serve three times. He kick-started his Madrid campaign with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson, improving his record against the South African to 11-0. 
• Berdych is making his 10th appearance in Madrid. His best showing came in 2012 when he reached the final before falling to Federer in 3 sets. He reached the SF last year (l. to Wawrinka).
• After falling in the Australian Open SF (l. to Wawrinka), Berdych compiled an 11-match winning streak – the longest of his career. He kick-started the run in Czech Republic’s Davis Cup victory over the Netherlands before clinching his first title in more than a year in Rotterdam (d. Marin Cilic in F). The Czech then defeated world No. 10 Tsonga en route to the Dubai final where Federer ended his streak. His previous best unbeaten run was nine matches (2005-06).
• Since Dubai, Berdych’s standout performances came in Miami where he reached the SF (withdrew vs. Nadal due to gastroenteritis) and in Oeiras (l. to Berlocq in F after winning the first set 6-0). 
• Berdych finished 2013 in the top 10 for the fourth year in a row, reaching a career high of No. 5 in August. Despite reaching the QF or better in 15 of his 23 tournaments, Berdych was the only player in the top 10 not to win a title in 2013. 
• Berdych is bidding to reach his 16th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF (15-14 in QFs) and second of the season, after Miami. He is also looking to reach his fourth SF in Madrid (3-1 in QFs here). 

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [Q] Santiago Giraldo (COL)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

• Bautista Agut advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 QF after easing past lucky loser Lukasz Kubot, who took Roger Federer’s place in the draw, 6-4, 6-2. The Spaniard, who is making his Madrid debut, opened his account with back-to-back wins over compatriots [16] Tommy Robredo (6-4, 6-4) and Fernando Verdasco (2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1).
• Bautista Agut has posted two top 10 wins this year: defeating world No. 5 Del Potro at the Australian Open (l. to Dimitrov in 4R) and then world No. 5 Berdych in Indian Wells (l. to Gulbis in 4R). His best showing this year came in January when he reached the SF in Auckland (l. to Isner).
• Bautista Agut finished 2013 in the top 60 for the first time, highlighted by a maiden ATP World Tour final appearance in Chennai in the opening week of the season (l. to Wawrinka). 
• Bautista Agut ranked No. 1 on the ATP World Tour for first serve percentage last year with 71%. 
• Bautista Agut is looking to reach the fourth Tour-level SF of his career after Chennai 2013, Stuttgart 2013 and Auckland 2014 and the first at Masters 1000 level.  
• Giraldo notched the first top 10 win of his career with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 7 seed Andy Murray. The Colombian, who had fallen in his previous 19 outings against top 10 opponents, saved the lone BP he faced while breaking the Murray serve three times. 
• Giraldo posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2R after edging past Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 in the 1R. 
• Giraldo returns to Madrid for the fifth time. He had never gone past the 2R before this year.  
• Giraldo’s highlight of the season came last month at the ATP 500 event in Barcelona where he defeated three top 30 players en route to the final (l. to Nishikori). 
• Giraldo has posted a 12-2 mark since April and has climbed from No. 86 to around a career-high No. 36 with the result this week. He has also surpassed his match wins total from last season (16) with 18 wins to his name this year. 
• At Vina del Mar, Giraldo collected his 100th Tour-level match-win en route to the SF (l. to L Mayer).
• Giraldo finished 2013 inside the top 75 for the fourth straight year, highlighted by three ATP World Tour QF appearances – Acapulco, Bogota and Atlanta.
• Giraldo is contesting an ATP Masters 1000 QF for the first time. 

[5] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Ferrer leads 2-0
2007 ATP Masters Series Canada (Canada) Hard R64 David Ferrer 6-2 6-1
2013 Stockholm (Sweden) Hard SF David Ferrer 3-6 6-4 6-1

• Ferrer rose to 27th on the Open Era all-time wins list with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over John Isner in the 3R, surpassing Mats Wilander (571). He’s now three wins short of equaling Carlos Moya (575).
• Ferrer opened his account with a 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-3 victory over countryman Albert Ramos.
• Ferrer returns to Madrid for the 12th time. He has now reached the QF here six times, including the last five. He advanced to the SF just once, however, losing at that stage to Federer in 2010.  
• Ferrer clinched his 21st ATP World Tour title in Buenos Aires in February when he defeated Fabio Fognini in the final, ending a seven-match losing streak in ATP finals. 
• Ferrer’s best performance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this year came in Monte-Carlo, where he ended a 17-match losing streak against Nadal on clay in the QF before falling to eventual champ Wawrinka in the SF. His win over Nadal was his fifth career victory over the reigning world No. 1: vs Nadal (3 times), Djokovic and Agassi. He also became the fourth player to beat Nadal multiple times on clay: Djokovic (3), Gaudio (3) and Federer (2).
• Ferrer finished the 2013 season at a year-end best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was the third year in a row he finished inside the top five and also the fourth straight year in which he won at least 55 matches. He played an ATP-high 84 matches during the season.
• Ferrer is looking to reach his 14th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF (13-20 in QFs) and second in Madrid (1-4 in QFs here).
• Gulbis won 84% of points behind his first serve and saved the lone BP he faced as he overcame Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Madrid QF for the second time. The Latvian opened his campaign with victories over top 25 players Jerzy Janowicz and the in-form Alexandr Dolgopolov.
• Gulbis is making his fourth appearance in Madrid and first since 2010. He reached the QF on his last outing four years ago before falling to Federer in three sets. 
• Gulbis climbed to a career-high No. 18 in February after winning the title in Marseille. He posted back-to-back top 10 wins over No. 9 Richard Gasquet in the SF and No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, improving his record to 5-0 in title games. 
• Gulbis’ other highlights this season came at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam where he defeated world No. 4 del Potro en route to the SF (l. to Berdych) and two weeks ago in Barcelona where he reached the final four (l. to Nishikori). 
• The Latvian finished 2013 in the top 30 for the first time since 2010, jumping 115 spots from the previous year. He equaled his year-end best ranking (No. 24) and won a personal-best 37 matches. 
• Gulbis won two titles in 2013 – Delray Beach and St. Petersburg. His win in Delray Beach marked the first time a qualifier captured an ATP title since Jarkko Nieminen won Sydney in 2012. 
• Gulbis is contesting his sixth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF. He is 1-4 at this stage with his only Masters 1000 SF appearance coming in Rome in 2010 (l. to Nadal). 

[10] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Series tied 2-2
2011 Barcelona (Spain) Clay R16 Feliciano Lopez 6-4 7-6(5)
2013 Memphis (U.S.A.) Hard F Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-3
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R64 Feliciano Lopez 6-4 7-6(4)
2013 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R16 Kei Nishikori 7-6(4) 6-0

• Nishikori improved his record on clay this year to 8-0 as he squeezed past Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 7-6(5) to reach the Madrid QF for the second time. He overcame Ivan Dodig and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets in his opening two rounds. 
• Nishikori returns to Madrid for the third time. After falling in the 1R on his debut in 2011 (l. to Riba), the Japanese No. 1 advanced to the QF last year with victory over No. 2 Federer (l. to Andujar).
• Nishikori won his 4th and 5th career titles in Memphis (d. Karlovic in F) and Barcelona (d. Giraldo in F) earlier this year. The victory in Barcelona was his first ever tournament win on a clay court. 
• Nishikori has finished inside the top 25 in the past three seasons while becoming the highest ranked player from his country in ATP history. He reached a career-high No. 11 on June 17, 2013.
• Nishikori is bidding to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 SF. His previous final four appearances at this level came in Miami this year (w/o vs. Djokovic) and Shanghai in 2011 (l. to Murray).
• Lopez, who advanced to the QF after Dominic Thiem pulled out ahead of their 3R clash, posted his highest-ranked win of the season in the 2R, seeing off world No. 16 Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 while saving nine of 10 BP chances. His previous highest ranked win this year came against No. 37 Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Acapulco.
• Lopez notched his 90th career win on clay with a 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-2 victory over Sao Paulo champion Federico Delbonis in the 1R, saving 13 of 14 BPs during the encounter.
• Lopez returns to Madrid for the 13th time. He has now reached the QF four times: 2003 (l. to Federer), 2007 (l. to Federer), 2008 (l. to Nadal) and 2014 (vs. Nishikori).  
• Lopez’s only previous QF appearance this year came in Delray Beach in February (l. to Johnson). 
• Lopez finished 2013 ranked inside the top 50 for the seventh year in a row, highlighted by a first grass-court title at Eastbourne and third overall. 
• Lopez is bidding to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 SF (2-6 in QFs). His only final four appearances at this level came in Shanghai in both 2009 (l. to Nadal) and 2011 (l. to Ferrer). 

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