Nadal, Ferrer move into Rio semis

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ( – Top seeds Rafael Nadal and David
Ferrer battled their way into the semifinals at the $1.55 million Rio Open
with hard-fought wins Friday.

Nadal, the former world No. 1 and 14-time Grand Slam champion who is the
tournament’s defending champion and top seed, finally got going in his match
against Pablo Cuevas.

He needed two hours and five minutes to complete a 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 win, moving a
step closer to defending the title he captured last year when he beat Alexandr
Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio finale.

Ferrer, seeded second, was able to hold off Juan Monaco 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in
sweltering conditions to win Friday’s first quarterfinal.

He will face Andreas Haider-Maurer, who also prevailed in a tough match with
Brazilian wild card Joao Souza, winning 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and
20 minutes.

Nadal’s next opponent, fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini, survived in a three-set
battle with Federico Delbonis, coming out on top of a three-hour, 12-minute
marathon 6-4, 6-7 (10-12), 7-6 (11-9).

This week’s clay court champion will pocket $343,000.