Rafael Nadal is now two wins away from winning his fifth straight French Open title.
It didn’t look that way early on though as Nadal faced off with fellow countryman David Ferrer. The top-seeded Spaniard dropped the first set 4-6 and looked sloppy, but stormed back to beat fifth-seeded Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 on Wednesday.
The match was the first real test for Nadal in the tournament after drawing unseeded opponents in his first four matches. Ferrer looked sharp early, exchanging break points midway through the first set before outlasting him for the 6-4 first set win.
The top seed answered back though, racing to a 3-1 lead in the second to gain momentum. Ferrer began to commit some unforced errors as Nadal used his powerful forehand to expose Ferrer’s backhand and evened the match.
Nadal never looked back after that, cruising to 6-0 and 6-1 victories in the third and fourth sets, respectively. Ferrer had a chance to get back into the match as he held a triple break point in the second game of the fourth set, but failed to break Nadal’s serve and lost an opportunity to swing matters.
The eight-time champion at Roland Garros will next meet Andy Murray in the semis. Murray played a see-saw game with crowd favorite Gael Monfils, outlasting the Frenchman 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 to set up a clash with Nadal.
Murray looked to be on his way to a quick and easy victory over Monfils as he took the crowd out of the match early. He broke Monfils in the first set and took a 3-0 lead, eventually taking the first set 6-4.
The Frenchman’s body language dropped in the second set and Murray cruised to a 6-1 victory to put himself one set away from reaching the semis. But after Murray went up 2-0 in the third, Monfils seemed to be revitalized and got his hometown crowd back into it. His forehand handled Murray’s serve and he was able to break the Brit for a 5-4 lead as Murray started to commit some unforced errors.
After a Murray backhand return crashed into the net, Monfils captured the set 6-4 to force a fourth. With an added bounce in his step, Monfils picked up points on 93 percent of his serves and smashed 13 winners to force a deciding fifth set.
In a back and forth match, it was only right that momentum would swing back the other way in the deciding frame. Murray held serve in the first game and broke Monfils’ serve in the second game to regain control of the match. He would go on to win the set 6-0 and secured his spot in the final four of the second Grand Slam of the year.