Nadal comes through Cuevas test


Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal survived a real scare to book his place in the semi-finals of the Rio Open.

The 14-times grand slam winner was caught cold by Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas and went down 4-6 in the opening set at Jockey Club Brasileiro.

It was the first time the world number three had dropped a set in the tournament and Cuevas continued to push the Spaniard deep into the second set.

At 5-5, Nadal forced two break points, before sixth seed Cuevas tested his mettle by hauling it back to deuce.

Nadal was typically ice-cool to clinch the break, though, and then served out the set 7-5, before completing a nine-game winning streak to rout the third 6-0.

He will now face Italian Fabio Fognini in the last four after the fourth seed edged a three-hour-and-12-minute marathon with Argentinian Federico Delbonis 6-4 6-7 (10/12) 7-6 (11/9).

Fognini, who claimed victory with his ninth match point, told the ATP Tour website: “It’s always a tough match against Federico, and this was a crazy match. Now I’m happy, and all I want to do is rest well.”

Second seed David Ferrer progressed at Juan Monaco’s expense with a 6-3 4-6 6-2 triumph, having saved five of the seven break points he faced to deny the Argentinian.

Andreas Haider-Maurer is up next for the Spaniard after he took two hours and 20 minutes to dispatch home favourite Joao Souza 7-6 (7/4) 1-6 6-4 in a gruelling contest.

Austrian Haider-Maurer, who dumped out third seed Tommy Robredo on Wednesday, admitted the crowd made it tougher to get past the Brazilian and he was delighted with the win.

“The crowd was tough, but I had a good feeling on the centre court,” Haider-Maurer said. “It was a pleasure to play in front of this crowd. It was a tough match, up and down, but I’m very happy that I won.”

In the women’s draw top seed Sara Errani had to overcome a similarly partisan crowd as she beat wild card Beatriz Haddad Maia 3-6 7-6 (7/2) 3-0 after the Brazilian was forced to retire in the deciding set.

Haddad Maia had three match points at 6-5 in the second set, before Errani fought her way back.

“She surprised me a lot. I didn’t know her game and she’s powerful, has an amazing serve and played a great match,” Errani told the WTA website. “It was hard to keep her close in the score and she had match points.

“In the third, she suffered from cramps because we were playing for so long. I feel sorry for her.”

The world number 16 faces Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in the last four after she ended Dinah Pfizenmaier’s run with a comfortable 6-4 6-0 margin.

In five matches against Errani, Larsson is yet to win a set, but she highlighted they have never met on clay before, saying: “She’s a player who has a great serve, pretty good forehand. We’ve played on fast court, but never on the clay.”

Irina-Camelia Begu and Anna Schmiedlova will contest the other semi-final after they got past Julia Glushko 6-1 6-2 and Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3 6-1 respectively.

Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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