David Ferrer took a large stride toward back-to-back Mexican Open titles by winning his quarterfinal Thursday, while his main rival and Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almagro lost.
Top-seeded Ferrer cruised past another Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-2, 6-4, while the other all-Spanish quarterfinal saw Almagro beaten 6-4, 7-6 (5) by No.8 Fernando Verdasco.
Verdasco trailed 4-1 in the second-set tiebreaker, but won six of the last seven points to close out the match against the second-seeded Almagro.
Almagro broke Verdasco when he was serving for the match at 5-4, but the tiebreaker collapse kept him from reaching his second consecutive final at the Mexican Open, and fourth in the last five years.
He was runner-up to Ferrer last year and won the competition in 2008 and 2009. Ranked 12th in the world, Almagro also won the Brazil Open two weeks ago.
Ferrer's semifinal opponent will be Colombia's Santiago Giraldo, who was a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 winner of Argentina's Carlos Berlocq.
Verdasco will next play Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who advanced by beating Jeremy Chardy of France 7-5, 6-1.
In the women's quarterfinals, the three top-ranked Italians all comfortably progressed to the final four.
Top seed Roberta Vinci of Italy routed Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-0 and will play her semifinal against fellow Italian Sara Errani, the No. 3 seed, who ousted seventh-seeded Estrella Cabeza Candela of Spain 6-4, 6-3.
Second-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy beat Colombia's Mariana Duque-Marino 6-0, 6-4 and will next face Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu, who won 6-2, 6-2 over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.