Roland Garros—Paris, France

Defending champion Rafael Nadal continued his stellar play on the red clay this season, defeating countryman Nicolas Almagro 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-3 to reach semifinals of the French Open on Wednesday.

Recording his 50th career win at the tournament, Nadal hit 36 winners to 16 unforced errors during the two hour and 46 minute match. Improving to 8-0 against Almagro in lifetime meetings, Nadal also kept alive his streak of not losing a set during his first five matches. Aiming to break a tie with Bjorn Borg for most French Open titles won at six, Nadal will next face first-time semifinalist David Ferrer for a place in the finals.

Ferrer put forth a gusty performance to oust No. 4 seed Andy Murray, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2 later in the day.

The No. 6 seeded Spaniard broke serve on 10 occasions, while winning 68 percent of his first serve points. Murray, who reached the semifinals last year, only converted five of 15 break point chances.

Nadal leads Ferrer 15-4 in career head-to-head matches. The six-time winner has not lost to Ferrer on clay since 2004.

The men’s semifinals will take place on Friday in Paris. Top seed Novak Djokovic will also take on Roger Federer in the second match.


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