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Nadal faces Verdasco in all-Spanish semi

  • Story Highlights
  • Rafael Nadal faces Fernando Verdasco in all-Spanish semi at Australian Open
  • World No. 1 and top seed Nadal defeated Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2 7-5 7-5
  • Verdasco ousted 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-2
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(CNN) -- World number one Rafael Nadal will face Fernando Verdasco in an all-Spanish semifinal showdown at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Top seed Nadal must overcome a fellow-Spaniard at the semi stage in his bid for the Australian Open title.

Top seed Nadal must overcome a fellow-Spaniard at the semi stage in his bid for the Australian Open title.

Wimbledon and French champion Nadal fell at last year's last-four stage to eventual runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga whose hopes of a second crack at the title were demolished 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-2 by dangerman Verdasco.

Nadal also saw off a Frenchman at Wednesday's quarterfinal stage, ousting Gilles Simon 6-2 7-5 7-5 to once again reach the penultimate round without having dropped a set.

"For us it's an incredible feat to have two Spanish players in the semifinal. One is going to be in the final so we have to be very happy with that," Nadal told media.

"Verdasco is playing at his best level since he won the Davis Cup. Sometimes in the past he made some mistakes at important moments and he lost a little bit of concentration. But right now he's changed that.

"I saw his two matches against (Andy) Murray and Tsonga. He was very focused all the time and knew what he wanted to do all the time, so it will be very tough."

The winner will go through to face either American Andy Roddick or Swiss former world No. 1 Roger Federer who is looking to equal U.S. legend Pete Sampras' record haul of 14 Grand Slam titles.

Davis Cup star Verdasco defeated British No. 1 and event favorite Murray in the fourth round, and the left-hander finally floored fifth-seeded Tsonga with the same cocktail of bullet-like serves and superb winners.

The 25-year-old took the first set 7-2 on the tie break; conceded the next as his rival found some form, but from then on was second best as Verdasco went on to win the match with an ace.

Nadal is bidding for the Australian title for the first time and was made to battle by sixth-seeded Simon who was set point up at 5-4 up in the second, but ended up losing three straight games.

Simon, in his first grand slam quarterfinal, lost the first set in 33 minutes and any hopes of an upset disappeared in the 10th game of the third when he double faulted and then sent a backhand into the net.

Nadal could see the finishing line, firing a cross-court winner to make the break and then holding serve to love to book his place in the last four.

"Sometimes just one point or two points different and the match can change," said Simon. "I had a set point. Even then I had no chance because he hit a good serve, and then he hits the forehand.

"But I think I did what I had to do on the court. He was just better than me today. He didn't miss anything. He didn't give any point during three sets. He was serving very well."

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