Rafael Nadal’s injury comeback gathered pace on Thursday as the 11-time Grand Slam champion reached the semi-finals of the Mexican Open and inched closer to a possible title showdown with fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Nadal, playing his third tournament in four weeks after a seven-month injury layoff, beat Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-5 in the quarters and will now play Nicolas Almagro.
Ferrer, the top seed and three-time defending champion whose world number four ranking puts him one spot higher than Nadal, breezed past Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-1 to book a semi-final clash with Fabio Fognini.
“This was a very difficult match,” Nadal said. “Leonardo was playing really well in the second set, he began to play more aggressive and his serve was working well.”
Ferrer went down an early break against Lorenzi but bounced back quickly and broke the Italian five times en route to the victory in 72 minutes. He next faces another Italian in Fognini, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo.
Nadal’s opponent Almagro, a two-time winner in Acapulco, beat Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-3, 6-4, firing down 10 aces in the 70-minute encounter.AFP