Nadal reaches Barcelona semis; Raonic downs Murray
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Rafael Nadal dispatched Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 6-2 Friday to advance to the Barcelona Open semifinals, while Milos Raonic served 14 aces and upset second-seeded Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6 (3).
The top-seeded Nadal moved his Serbian opponent around the red-clay court with his powerful forehand.
The second-ranked Spaniard broke Tipsarevic in his first service game to set the tone for his 32nd consecutive win at the tournament. Tipsarevic earned three break points in the last game of the first set, but Nadal recovered to win five straight points.
Nadal was broken for the first time to make it 2-2 in the second set, giving the fifth-seeded Tipsarevic a glimmer of hope. But Nadal won the next four games, capping a dominating performance with two straight aces to close out the match in 1 hour, 23 minutes.
"In the first set I was playing really well, and then at the start of the second he attacked more while I left my shots short," Nadal said. "But I am satisfied with the match. I am in the semifinals again. Tomorrow I will have to play at my highest level."
Nadal, a six-time champion at the tournament, will face fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco after Kei Nishikori of Japan was forced to retire with an injury when trailing 4-2 in the first set.
Raonic, who trains at the Real Club de Tenis, used his strong forehand to beat Murray.
The 11th-seeded Canadian broke the fourth-ranked Murray to lead 4-3 and then set up a set point with an ace before smacking a forehand down the line to take the first set.
Murray managed only four points on Raonic's serve in the first set and continued to struggle on the return in the second. But Murray broke Raonic when the Canadian served for the match before losing in the tiebreaker.
"It's very, very difficult and a big plus in confidence for me," Raonic said. "Clay's not his best surface, but he consistently does well on it. Last year he reached the semifinals at the French Open, Monte Carlo and Rome, so he can play really well on it. For me, it was a big win, regardless of the surface."
Raonic is one win away from his fourth final of the season. He will next face David Ferrer, who saved three match points while rallying to beat Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (4), 7-6 (7), 6-3.