Rafael Nadal enjoyed an impressive 6-4, 7-5 victory over Fernando Verdasco in the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Friday. Verdasco played well for most of the second set, forcing Rafa to fight his way out of a double break deficit. The comeback was inevitable – I’m sure even Verdasco knew, deep down, that Rafa wasn’t going to give him a set.
Also inevitable? Nadal’s refusal to be deemed the tournament favorite. Here he is talking about his upcoming semifinal match against Novak Djokovic (via ATP.com):
“In this tournament I don’t even think that I’m favorite. I’m one of the four players in semi-finals and we’ll see what happens, because I think that these conditions are quite different from a normal clay court tournament and playing against [Djokovic] is going to be a true challenge. Djokovic is going to try to make me be more inside and to make me use my forehand more.”
Despite the intimidating 8-0 head-to-head he enjoys over Djokovic on clay, Nadal’s wariness is prudent – the Serb’s looked great all week, including in his 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over Ivan Ljubicic.
Here are some highlights from Nadal vs. Verdasco:
Also in Friday’s quarterfinals, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick met for the twentieth time on tour, but for their first time on clay. Andy Roddick played well, considering it was only his second match of the clay court season, and Roger needed three sets to finish him off: 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-1. It was another chaotic match for Fed fans: Roger’s first serve percentage and forehand were all over the place, yet he pulled off some amazing shots, including a hot-dog “tweener” in the third set.
Here are some highlights from Federer vs. Roddick (the tweener is at 3:50, and don’t miss Andy’s serve, afterwards!):
At least Roger won’t have to face his nemesis, Andy Murray, in the semis. Juan Martin del Potro beat the new World No. 3 for the first time in Friday’s last quarterfinal match, 7-6(4), 6-3. Roger has a 4-0 winning record against the Argentine.
So we have some good semi-final matches to look forward to on Saturday! They’ll be shown on Tennis Channel in the States – click here for the TV schedule.