Rafael Nadal brushed aside Janko Tipsarevic 6-2 6-2 on Friday to advance to the Barcelona Open semifinals,while Milos Raonic served 14 aces on his way to eliminating second-seeded Andy Murray in straight sets.
The top-seeded Nadal was in vintage form,moving his Serbian opponent all around the red-clay court with his powerful forehand. The second-ranked Spaniard broke Tipsarevic in his first service game to set the tone for his 32nd consecutive win at the tournament. Tipsarevic earned three break points in the last game of the first set,but Nadal recovered to win five straight points.
In the first set I was playing really well,and then at the start of the second he attacked more while I left my shots short, Nadal said. But I am satisfied with the match. I am in the semifinals again. Tomorrow I will have to play at my highest level. Nadal,a six-time champion at the tournament,will face compatriot Fernando Verdasco after Japans Kei Nishikori retired trailing 2-4 in the first set.
Raonic used his strong forehand to beat Murray 6-4 7-6 (3). The 11th-seeded Canadian broke Murray to lead 4-3 and then set up a set point with an ace before smacking a forehand down the line to take the first set.
Murray managed only four points on Raonics serve in the first set and continued to struggle on the return in the second. But Murray broke Raonic when the Canadian served for the match before losing in the tiebreaker.
Raonic is one win away from his fourth final of the season. He will next face David Ferrer,who saved three match points while rallying to beat Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (4) 7-6 (7) 6-3.