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Nadal Passes Ferrer Test In QFs

Paris, France

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal etends his Roland Garros winning streak to 33 matches.

After rolling past four unseeded players, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal faced his first big test of the 2014 Roland Garros championships on Wednesday when he came up against World No. 5 David Ferrer in a rematch of last year’s final.

The eight-time Roland Garros champion lost the opening set, but roared back to beat his fellow Spaniard and the darkness 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 in the rain-delayed quarter-final match on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Nadal must successfully defend his crown to retain the No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking.

"I am rather happy to have been able to turn the situation around," said Nadal. "I managed to pull through. Even though it was complicated, I managed to find solutions during the second set."

Watch Nadal Highlights

Nadal, who celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday, is attempting to become the first man to win five straight Roland Garros titles. He next faces Andy Murray, who held on to defeat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier. Read Report

Since his straight-sets win over Ferrer last year at the clay-court major, Nadal had dropped two of their three matches - including their most recent meeting in April at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

The pair traded hard-earned breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the quarter-final match, before Ferrer drew ahead with another break to clinch his third straight set against Nadal.

The top seed countered early in the second set as he built up a 3-1 lead, and coolly faced down Ferrer’s three break point chances in the sixth game. Nadal benefitted from an improved second serve, winning 83 per cent as compared to 46 in the first, and drew level at one set all with a love service game.

"The first set was mentally tough," said Nadal. "I decided to go more inside to return in the second set, and I decided to play many more times with my forehand. When I did, I think the dynamic of the match changed."

Ferrer, who had entered the match with a six-match winning streak against fellow Spaniards, committed four unforced errors to gift Nadal the first game of the third set. He continued to struggle with errors as Nadal went on a 10-game run to go two-sets-to-one and a double break up.

Ferrer, NadalFerrer held triple break point chance in the second game of the fourth set, but was unable to capitalise. He finally got back on the scoreboard with a break in the fourth game, but it proved to be too little too late as he lost to Nadal for a third straight year at Roland Garros.

"Today I was not good enough for this match," said Ferrer, who had reached the semi-finals on his past two tournament appearances. "I lost my focus. I was too slow, and I think I didn't play the game of a Top 10 [player]. This is why I'm sad. It's my attitude, my behaviour on the court."

Nadal has lost just one match in his 10 visits to Roland Garros, falling to Robin Soderling five years ago in the fourth round. He extended his winning streak at the clay-court major to 33 matches.

The Mallorcan leads Murray 14-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a victory last month at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome - their first meeting since 2011. Nadal defeated Murray in straight sets three years ago in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

"He can play very well on all the surfaces," said Nadal. "It's nothing new that he plays very well on clay. It's not the first time he's in semi-finals of Roland Garros... He's a candidate to win Roland Garros."

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