Madrid, Spain – Former champion Rafael Nadal fought his way past fellow Spaniard David Ferrer to reach the semifinals, while third seed and former titlist Andy Murray was sent packing by last year's runner-up Tomas Berdych in quarterfinal action at the $4.425 million Madrid Open, an ATP Masters event.
A sixth-seeded Berdych, who lost to Roger Federer in last year's final, toppled Murray in 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 fashion in just over two hours on the Brit's least-favorite surface, while the fifth-seeded Nadal came from behind to best the fourth seed Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 in 2 hours, 37 minutes on the red clay at the Magic Box.
Berdych tallied three service breaks, compared to two for the U.S. Open champion Murray on Day 6.
Murray titled here in 2008 when the event was staged on an indoor hardcourt.
Ferrer-Nadal, however, was the match of the day thus far, as Ferrer was unable to convert on two match points in the disheartening setback.
"It was a tightly contested match," said Nadal. "David deserved it more than I did to reach the semifinals, but that is sport.
"After missing his chance, David fell apart a little. He lowered his intensity in the third set and I didn't have to do as much."
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 improved to 18-4 lifetime against Ferrer, who won their very first clash in 2004 on a clay court in Stuttgart.
The hot Nadal is 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.
Nadal is currently third in the Open Era with 39 clay-court titles, trailing fellow left-handers Guillermo Vilas (45) and Thomas Muster (40).
The former world No. 1 Nadal's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be another fellow Spaniard, wild card Pablo Andujar, who ousted 14th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. Nishikori stunned the defending Madrid champion Federer here on Thursday.
Berdych will face Stanislas Wawrinka after the 15th-seeded Swiss battled past seventh-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-7 (9-11), 6-4. Wawrinka is fresh off his clay-court title in Portugal, where he upset Ferrer in the final in Oeiras.