Rafael Nadal keeps No1 bid on track by reaching China Open semi-finals
Rafael Nadal remains on course to reclaim the No1 ranking after battling into the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing
Rafael Nadal kept his bid to reclaim the world No1 ranking from Novak Djokovic on course by sealing a 2-6 6-4 6-1 win over Italy’s Fabio Fognini to reach the China Open semi-finals.
Nadal, who needs to reach the final in Beijing to have a chance of regaining the top spot for the first time in two years, found himself down a set and a break but rallied back to set up a last-four showdown with fourth seed Tomas Berdych. The Czech advanced thanks to a 7-5 6-2 win over John Isner.
The Spaniard, who won the US Open earlier this month, appeared to struggle with a left knee problem at times but battled hard to seal his place in the semi-finals.
“I was able to fight, to change a little bit the dynamic of the match,” Nadal said afterwards.
“The players who are in the top position of the rankings, it’s because they are able to win when things are not going well. One of the most important things in tennis [is to] win when you don’t play well.”
The 27-year-old also insisted that the prospect of reclaiming the top ranking is not an added source of pressure.
“It’s something that doesn’t create more pressure for me,” he continued. “It’s something that already happened in the past. If that happens again, it will be good, it will be special for me.”
Djokovic, meanwhile, set up a semi-final clash against Richard Gasquet after the Serb thrashed American Sam Querrey 6-1 6-2.
The fifth-seeded Frenchman had earlier booked his spot in the last four thanks to an impressive straight-sets win over third seed David Ferrer.