Nadal breezes through in Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will play 64th ranked Albert Ramos in the next round of the Barcelona Open.

Story highlights

  • Rafael Nadal through to the semifinals at Barcelona Open
  • Rain-delay forced Nadal to play conclusion of quarterfinal tie Friday
  • World No.5 will face Milos Raonic in last four
  • Spain's Nicolas Almagro to play Philipp Kohlschreiber in other semifinal
Rafael Nadal extinguished any doubts over his long-term fitness after being forced to play two matches in less than 24 hours at the Barcelona Open.
The 26-year-old recorded a 37th consecutive victory at Barcelona with a 6-3 6-0 quarterfinal win over fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos just hours after finishing off his rain-delayed third round match.
After returning from a seven-month injury enforced absence with a knee problem in February, Nadal has reached six finals in six tournaments this year.
Bad weather in Barcelona Thursday forced the World No.5 to complete his match against Frenchman Benoit Paire on Friday morning.
A 7-6 6-2 win set up a last eight clash with Ramos, who Nadal swept aside in just 66 minutes following a commanding display.
"I played much better this afternoon than in the morning," Nadal told the ATP website.
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"I'm very happy to be in the semifinals another time in a very important tournament.
"I'm enjoying the week playing here. I love the tournament. I know everybody well. It feels like home, always."
Nadal, who lost out in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters to Novak Djokovic last week, is hoping to secure an eighth French Open title next month.
The Spaniard had hoped to win a ninth consecutive title at Monte Carlo before suffering his first defeat at the clay court tournament since 2003.
He will now hope to bounce back with Canada's Milos Raonic standing in between him and a place in Sunday's final.
Raonic, who has lost both of his previous encounters with Nadal, overcame Tommy Robredo 6-7 6-3 7-6.
In the other semifinal, Spain's Nicolas Almagro will face Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Almagro, ranked 12th in the world, defeated compatriot Juan Monaco 6-3 7-5 in a contest where he saved 10 break points.
"He had many break points and played really good, but I can rest now for a little bit and we'll see what comes tomorrow in the semi-finals," Almagro told the official ATP website.
"I played really good today and that's the most important thing. I've felt great during this week and I'm going to fight to reach my first final here in Barcelona."
Kohlschreiber, seeded eighth, saw off Slovakia's Martin Klizan in three sets before his quarterfinal opponent, Thomaz Bellucci, withdrew injured.
Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from next week's Lisbon Open.
According to the tournament's organizers, the Argentine, ranked seventh in the world, has been suffering with a stomach virus.
In Stuttgart, defending champion Maria Sharapova overcame Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in 7-5 4-6 6-4 to ensure her place in the last four.
"It's good to face different styles of playing from different opponents," Sharapova told reporters.
"Ana is a bit more aggressive, while Lucie Safarova had a bit more variety in her game yesterday.
"I am happy to get through, but I had to push myself.
"It was a tough battle, it was hard to get my body going again after the last game, but it was good to get another three sets under the belt."
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The World No.2 will face Germany's Angelique Kerber on Saturday after the home favorite saw off Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 7-6.
"We both played well," Kerber told the WTA website.
"I was fully concentrated right from the first point and tried to make her move around and not let her get into the match -- luckily enough my tactics worked well today.
"It was extremely important for me to play as well as possible at my home tournament.
"Reaching the semifinals is a big achievement for me. But I'm not going to put myself under any pressure.
"I'm naturally going to have the crowd behind me - they've been supporting me so fantastically all week."
In the other semifinal, U.S qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands will take on China's Li Na.
Mattek-Sands, ranked 104th in the world, overcame Germany's Sabine Lisicki 6-4 6-2, while Li defeated fifth seed Petra Kvitova 6-3 7-5.
The World No.5 was beaten in three sets by Mattek-Sands in their previous meeting at the quarterfinal stage of the 2011 Madrid Open and is expecting another tough test.
"I saw Bethanie play earlier on and she looks like a good, aggressive, player," Li told reporters.
"We'll see how tomorrow's match goes."