Nadal Surges Past Wawrinka Into Semis
Spaniard sets Tsonga clash
Rafael Nadal’s growing confidence was clear for all to see as the Spaniard dismissed Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-1 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters and claim his 300th win at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level.
Nadal might not have received the test he expected from a tired Wawrinka, who toiled for almost three hours on Thursday to overcome Marin Cilic. But the left-hander, who reached the Beijing final last week (l. to Djokovic), took full advantage to race to victory in 63 minutes.
"Being in the semi-finals is a great result for me," said Nadal. "I hadn't played the semi-finals on hard court all year and now I am playing two weeks in a row in the final rounds. That's a big improvement for me. In terms of confidence, in terms of level of tennis, I am playing better. Very happy for that because I am working so hard."
From 2-2 in the first set, Nadal reeled off nine straight games before Wawrinka chalked up a game in the second set to avoid a bagel. Having lost his past two contests with Wawrinka, Nadal improved to a 13-2 lead over the Roland Garros champion in their FedEx ATP Head2Head.
The 29-year-old Nadal has spoken of his desire to finish the 2015 season in the best form possible after some ups and downs during the campaign. As he looks to reach his sixth ATP World Tour final of the season, the Spaniard will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whom he has beaten in eight of their past 11 meetings.
"It is a court that he likes to play on," said Nadal. "The court is quick. He feels comfortable on these surfaces because he has a huge serve, very, very good forehand. He likes to hit the serve and then hit the forehand and go to the net. He's a very competitive player. When he's in the semi-finals it's because he's playing well. So it will be a very tough match. I hope to play well, keep doing like every day, playing a little bit better every day. I hope tomorrow to continue with that improvement."
Nadal is chasing crucial points in the Emirates ATP Race To London as he looks to clinch one of the four remaining spots at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Manacor native moved up to sixth in the year-to-date standings after last week’s run in Beijing and is looking to make up ground on fifth-placed Tomas Berdych, who lost to Andy Murray in the quarter-finals.