Free Press Journal

Rafael Nadal cruises past Cuevas to reach Hamburg semis


Rafael Nadal

Hamburg: Spanish tennis top seed Rafael Nadal has booked a spot in the semi-finals of the bet-at-home Open here with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. A day after struggling at this clay court event against 22-year-old Czech Jiri Vesely, a match in which he lost his own serve four times en route to a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) victory, Nadal on Friday was broken only once in rolling past the fifth-seeded Uruguayan, reports Efe.

Nadal broke his opponent in the opening game, but Cuevas got the first set back on serve at 3-3 by converting his second break point of the match. The 14-time Grand Slam champion, however, broke serve once again in the following game and never looked back, winning nine of the last 11 games of the contest.

The 29-year-old Spaniard wrapped up the victory in one hour and 12 minutes by securing his fifth service break of the match, improving his record on his favourite surface this season to 24-6.

Former World No.1 Nadal, who has struggled across all surfaces in 2015 and seen his ranking fall to No.10, opted to play this mid-season clay court event in a bid to get his game back on track ahead of next month’s US Open, which is played on hard courts. His opponent in Saturday’s semi-final will be Italian fourth seed Andreas Seppi, who advanced by walkover when countryman Simone Bolelli pulled out due to gastroenteritis.

In other quarter-final results, another Italian, Fabio Fognini, defeated Britain’s Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 7-5, and French qualifier Lucas Pouille routed countryman and second seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2.