Sania Mirza & Bethany Mattek advance to the semifinals at Cincinnati

STUTTGART: Top-seeded Rafael Nadal reached the semifinals of the Mercedes Cup Friday with a 6-1, 6-3 win against Argentina’s Juan Monaco.

Nadal, breaking Monaco’s serve early in both sets, coasted to his 91st win in 92 matches on clay and moved closer to winning the tournament for the second time.

The Spaniard played with his right knee taped but didn’t seem bothered by an injury that flared up in his second-round match Thursday after first surfacing in the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer.

“At the start, I was a little unsure if the knee would hold up,” Nadal said. “But then that passed and I played at really a very high level.”

Nadal next faces his best friend on the tour, Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, who upset sixth-seed Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. The second semifinal pits seventh-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela against Stanislas Wawrinka. Chela rallied from a set down to beat fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 while Wawrinka eliminated Jiri Vanek, 6-1, 6-4.

Facile win

At the WTA Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati, top seeds Sania Mirza and American Bethanie Mattek beat Lilia Osterloh and Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-3 to breeze into the doubles semifinals on Thursday.

Sania and Mattek were in control right from the beginning as they held their serve, besides breaking the U.S.-Russian pair twice, to clinch the opening set.

The second set followed a similar script as Sania and Bethanie continued their dominance, breaking Lilia and Anastasia thrice to seal the match.

Important results:At Amersfoort (ATP Dutch Open): Quarterfinals: Werner Eschauer bt Carlos Moya 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4; Steve Darcis bt Igor Andreev 6-3, 6-4; Mikhail Youzhny bt Evgeny Korolev 6-4, 6-3.

At Stuttgart (ATP Mercedes Cup): Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal bt Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-3; Feliciano Lopez bt Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Juan Ignacio Chela bt Fernando Verdasco 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; Stanislas Wawrinka bt Jiri Vanek 6-1, 6-4. Second round: Feliciano Lopez bt Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-3.

At Los Angeles (ATP Countrywide Classic): Second round: Vincent Spadea bt Dmitry Tursunov 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3; Zack Fleishman bt Robert Kendrick 7-6(4), 6-3. James Blake bt Paul Goldstein 6-0, 1-6, 7-5; Radek Stepanek bt Mardy Fish 6-2, 6-2.

At Cincinnati (WTA Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open): Second round: Patty Schnyder bt Brenda Schultz-McCarthy 6-2, 6-3; Elena Vesnina bt Yuan Meng 6-1, 6-4; Olga Govortsova bt Jill Craybas 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1; Akgul Amanmuradova bt Bethanie Mattek 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(4).

At Palermo (WTA Palermo International): Second round: Karin Knapp bt Sandra Kloesel 6-1, 7-6(2); Agnieszka Radwanska bt Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 6-4; Emilie Loit bt Kira Nagy 6-1, 6-1; Agnes Szavay bt Ekaterina Bychkova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. — Agencies

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