GRITTY NADAL POW­ERS ON

Spa­niard out­du­els Dim­itrov to set up last-four show­down with Cilic

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SHANG­HAI

RAFAEL Nadal will play Marin Cilic in the semi­fi­nals of the Shang­hai Mas­ters yes­ter­day af­ter the World No 1 was forced to fight past Grigor Dim­itrov 6-4, 6-7 (47), 6-3.

Juan Martin del Potro mean­while clam­bered off the court floor and from a set down to knock out Ser­bia’s Vik­tor Troicki 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will play Roger Fed­erer, who beat un­seeded French­man Richard Gas­quet 7-5, 6-4.

Nadal, who has never won the Shang­hai show­piece, is chas­ing a sev­enth ti­tle in a bril­liant sea­son and a hat-trick of tri­umphs on the trot, hav­ing been crowned US Open and China Open cham­pion in re­cent weeks.

The 16-time Grand Slam win­ner saw off the Bul­gar­ian Dim­itrov in Bei­jing last week but suf­fered some hairy mo­ments in get­ting the bet­ter of him again in a nervy quar­ter-fi­nal played in over­cast con­di­tions.

“Very happy, it was a very tough match, both of us played a very high level of ten­nis,” said the 31-year-old Spa­niard, the top seed.

“I en­joyed it, a great bat­tle be­tween two play­ers that are play­ing all the time very fo­cused and in­tense points.

“A lot of matches in a row win­ning and very happy with ev­ery­thing, let’s see what hap­pens to­mor­row, but be­ing able to win in Bei­jing and now semi-fi­nals here... tough events against tough play­ers.

“Just fo­cus on hold­ing that mo­men­tum.”

The Croa­t­ian fourth seed Cilic — who has de­feated Nadal only once in five matches — beat un­seeded Spa­niard Al­bert RamosVi­no­las 6-3, 6-4.

Ar­gen­tine 16th seed Del Potro fought back from a set down for the sec­ond match in a row.

There was a scare when the 29year-old, who has suf­fered years of wrist in­juries that have threat­ened his ca­reer, took a nasty tum­ble at 2-2 in the de­cid­ing set against un­seeded Troicki.

His foot ap­peared to get stuck on the floor and he crum­pled down, land­ing with his weight on his out­stretched left hand — his pre­dom­i­nantly non-play­ing hand — and bend­ing it painfully back­wards.

The 2009 US Open cham­pion’s ca­reer has been blighted by wrist in­juries and he has had three op­er­a­tions on the left one.

He needed sev­eral min­utes of med­i­cal at­ten­tion and sat on a chair on the back of the court, winc­ing in ob­vi­ous dis­tress.

In­cred­i­bly, he broke the Troicki serve on his im­me­di­ate re­turn to ac­tion. AFP

AFP PIC

Juan Martin Del Potro hits a re­turn against Vik­tor Troicki in Shang­hai yes­ter­day.

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