Spaniards Nadal, Verdasco win through to semis

Thursday, January 29, 2009

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The way Rafael Nadal sees it, one good thing will come from the first all-Spanish semifinal in a hotly contested Australian Open.

A Spaniard will reach the final.

After improving one round on each of his previous four trips to Melbourne Park, odds are it will be top-ranked Nadal, who finished off a 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 win over No. 6 Gilles Simon on Wednesday as the temperature dipped to 93 from a daytime high of 109 degrees.

Nadal will meet another Spanish left-hander for a spot in the final after Fernando Verdasco ousted 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

"I think it's incredible for us," Nadal said. "One will be in the finals, so we have to be happy with that."

No Spanish man has won the Australian title. Nadal reached the semifinals last year without dropping a set, but was upset by Tsonga.

He rebounded from that to win the French Open for the fourth straight time, then ended Roger Federer's five-year reign at Wimbledon and his 237-week stretch at No. 1.

Verdasco had his time in the sun in November, when he guided Spain to victory in the Davis Cup final at Argentina.

Serena Williams dropped the first set against Svetlana Kuznetsova in her quarterfinal.

Williams had to work to force a third set, breaking Kuznetsova in the 10th game of the second when the Russian was serving for the match. That was the start of a dominating run, when she won nine of the next 10 games in a 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 victory.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: