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Nadal to meet Verdasco in semi-finals

January 28, 2009 17:58 IST

World number one Rafael Nadal set up a semi-final showdown with fellow-Spaniard Fernando Verdasco after subduing France's Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Nadal has not dropped a set so far in the tournament, though the sixth-seeded Simon came the closest to making him do so when he held a set point in the 10th game of the second set while Nadal was serving.

However, the 22-year-old from Mallorca held and then broke Simon in the next game before serving out for the second set.

Nadal broke Simon twice in the third set to win the match in two hours 27 minutes.

Nadal's meeting with Verdasco on Friday will be the first time two Spanish men meet in the semi-finals at the Australian Open since the tournament opened its doors to professionals in 1969.

Verdasco advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier in the day.

The 14th seed showed no ill-effects from the gruelling five-set victory over Britain's Andy Murray in his previous match as he overwhelmed Tsonga in a little under three hours with the roof closed on the Rod Laver centre court.

Tsonga made the final at last year's Australian Open but failed to take his opportunities against Verdasco, converting just two of 13 break points in the match, while his opponent cashed in on each of his four break points.

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