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By Chris Oddo | Friday July 31, 2015

 
Rafael Nadal, Hamburg Quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal had an easy go of things on Friday in Hamburg as he eased past Pablo Cuevas in straight sets.

Photo Source: EFE/Daniel Bockwoldt

Rafael Nadal continued his winning ways at the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay to reach his sixth ATP World Tour Semifinal of the season.

More: Dimitrov, Nadal Among ATP's Most Disappointing in 2015

The Spaniard came to Hamburg to regain some confidence in his game, and today’s victory should help the cause.

Though Nadal did benefit from 27 unforced errors and six double faults from Cuevas, he was the better player throughout, and he was a more relaxed striker of the ball from the baseline than he was on Thursday in his victory over Jiri Vesely.

Nadal was ahead from the start as he broke on his fourth break point of the opening game of the match when he punched a forehand swing volley into the open court.

Cuevas would strike back in the sixth game to level at three-all, but that would mark the last break point that Nadal would face on the afternoon.

Three games—and two breaks—later, Nadal corralled the opening set when a well-placed crosscourt forehand return handcuffed Cuevas into an error and a second consecutive break for 6-3.

Nadal struck just eight winners against 10 unforced errors on the day but was very steady off the ground, particularly on his backhand side. He kept up the pressure in the second set, and his steady play paid dividends when he broke Cuevas for 3-1 with a drop volley winner.

He would break again in the final game, finishing the affair when the world No. 31 netted a forehand to close the match in 72 minutes. It was Nadal’s second victory over Cuevas in 2015. He also defeated the 29-year-old in Rio in three sets.

Nadal moves on to face Andreas Seppi in Saturday’s semifinals in Hamburg. The Italian was given a walkover past his compatriot Simone Bolelli.

In the lower half of the draw, 8th-seeded Fabio Fognini notched a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Aljaz Bedene, while 21-year-old Frenchman Lucas Pouille pulled the upset by taking down his compatriot Benoit Paire, 6-3, 6-2.

Paire, who won Bastad last weekend, had his seven-match winning streak snapped with the loss.

Nadal improves to 24-6 on clay with the victory, and 37-12 overall. The 29-year-old Spaniard owns a 5-1 lifetime record vs. Seppi (4-0 on clay).

Both Nadal (2008) and Fognini (2013) are former Hamburg champions.

 

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