Nadal holds off strong Murray challenge in Rome

ROME (AP) Rafael Nadal stormed back from a surprisingly poor opening set to edge Andy Murray 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 Thursday and secure a spot in the Italian Open semifinals.

Murray jumped out to a 5-0 lead and won the first set in just 37 minutes with a dominant display, as the Wimbledon champion unleashed a series of winners from just about everywhere on the court.

But Nadal broke early in the second set and took control with a late break in the third to stay on course for his eighth title in Rome.

Still, it was the third consecutive match in which Nadal was pushed to three sets, leaving his clay-court form in question entering Roland Garros, which starts in nine days.

Nadal's semifinal opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov.

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