Nadal, in China Open semis, one win from No. 1 ranking

Oct. 4, 2013 at 10:31 AM   |   Comments

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BEIJING, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Rafael Nadal moved closer to retaking the No. 1 spot in the men's tennis rankings Friday with a three-set win he called "lucky" at the China Open quarterfinals.

Nadal got by Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, recovering from a first set in which Fognini raced out to a 5-1 start and was also up a break early in the second set. Nadal saved a game point that would have put Fognini ahead 5-1 in the second and took over from there.

He won the next five games to even the match and was soon ahead 4-1 in the third set.

"Then the situation changed a little bit," Nadal said after the match. "I played a little bit better, played with a little bit more rhythm and he felt that he needed to play another shot to win the point. But it was too late. I was very lucky."

Nadal will ascend to the No. 1 ranking if he wins Saturday over fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych. Current No. 1 Novak Djokovic, even if Nadal loses, must repeat as China Open champion to retain the top ranking.

Djokovic served noticed he's not going quietly, routing Sam Querrey 6-1, 6-2 in 52 minutes. Djokovic lost five points -- one in the first set -- while finishing off four of his 12 break chances.

The other quarterfinals results saw Richard Gasquet upset third-seeded David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4 while Berdych took out eighth-seeded John Isner 7-5, 6-2.

Nadal will play Berdych in the first semifinal Saturday. He is 15-3, with a 14-match winning streak dating to 2006, against Berdych. Djokovic is a healthy 8-1 all-time against Gasquet.

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