Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal delivered another impressive performance in his return from a seven-month layoff, with the Spanish star cruising to a straight-set win over countryman Daniel Gimeno-Traver in Friday's quarterfinals of the ATP World Tour's VTR Open.
The top-seeded Nadal came up with three breaks of the seventh-seeded Gimeno- Traver while staving off four break points en route to a 6-1, 6-4 victory on the red clay at Club Naval de Campo Las Silnas. The 11-time Grand Slam champion is playing in his first event since coming back from an extended hiatus caused by a knee injury.
"Today I had more confidence than the other days," said Nadal afterward. "That is positive. It gives me confidence and reasons to believe I'm on the right way."
Next up for the current World No. 5 will be Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who earned his berth in Saturday's semifinals by routing sixth-seeded Paolo Lorenzi, 6-2, 6-3.
The third-seeded Chardy, a semifinalist at this tournament a year ago, won 89 percent of his first serves and needed just an hour and four minutes to dispose of his Italian foe.
Also on Day 4, Argentine Horacio Zeballos took out fifth-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6) to set up a semifinal bout with No. 8 seed Carlos Berlocq, with the Argentine advancing via a walkover against Guillaume Rufin when the Frenchman pulled out due to an abdominal strain.
Berlocq was last year's Vina del Mar runner-up to fellow Argentine Juan Monaco.
This week's winner will collect $74,000.