Madrid, Spain – Former champion Rafael Nadal fought his way past fellow Spaniard David Ferrer to reach the semifinals at the $4.425 million Madrid Open, an ATP Masters event.
The fifth-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal came from behind to best the fourth- seeded Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 in 2 hours, 37 minutes on the red clay at the Magic Box.
Ferrer, who was a clay-court runner-up in Portugal last week, hasn't beaten Nadal on clay in nine years.
"Rafa is always the favorite on clay," said Ferrer. "Without any doubt he's the best and he's really fit right now."
Nadal is now 18-4 lifetime against Ferrer, who won their very first clash in 2004 on some clay in Stuttgart.
The hot Nadal is now a dazzling 29-2 this season and seeking a fifth title in his seventh tournament. He titled in Barcelona two weeks ago, reaching a sixth final in six tries.
The reigning French Open king is a two-time Madrid titlist and two-time runner-up in the Spanish capital.
The amazing Nadal is currently third in the Open Era with 39 clay-court titles, trailing fellow left-handers Guillermo Vilas (45) and Thomas Muster (40).
Nadal's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be another fellow Spaniard, wild card Pablo Andujar, who ousted 14th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 7-5. Nishikori stunned defending Madrid champion Roger Federer on Thursday.