A Good Friday for Nadal: Spaniard Cruises Past Monfils into Barcelona Semis

Rafael Nadal loves clay.

The top-ranked Spaniard cruised into the Barcelona Open semifinals after dispatching Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2, Friday for his sixth win at the clay-court tournament where he has a 28-1 record.

Nadal needed only 75 minutes to get past the ninth-ranked Frenchman, who was broken four times.

"The truth is it was a pretty complete game," said Nadal. "I'm very happy since this is a matchup between two of the best players in the world and to win 6-2, 6-2, makes me very happy."

Nadal rallied from 40-0 down in the third game to convert his first break point with a forehand winner, with Monfils pushed deep behind the baseline.

Nadal extended his lead to 4-1 when Monfils netted a backhand to be broken again, and Nadal held serve to take the first set.

The second set was a near replica of the first as Nadal broke Monfils in the third and fifth games again.

Monfils hit wide to trail 2-1 and sent a forehand long after a net exchange to be broken for the fourth time. Nadal held serve to close out the match and set up a match with either fellow Spaniard Feliciano López or Ivan Dodig of Croatia.

"This is super positive," said Nadal, the recent Monte Carlos Masters champion who improved to 30-0 on clay since 2010. "But there's still much to achieve."

Monte Carlo finalist David Ferrer plays Jurgen Melzer later Friday. The winner faces Juan Carlos Ferrero or Nicolas Almagro, who meet in an all-Spanish matchup.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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