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Nadal, Nalbandian Grind into Sao Paulo Semis

Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian both needed three sets to advance into the semifinals of the Brasil Open.

By Erik Gudris

Rafael Nadal (February 15th, 2013) -- Though he had the majority of the often rowdy Sao Paulo crowd on his side, Rafael Nadal found inspiration in himself at the right time in the quarterfinals of the Brasil Open.

Facing Argentina's Carlos Berlocq, it was Nadal who got off to a ragged start on the tattered clay of the center court in the opening set. Berlocq broke the Spaniard early on and held on to his lead to take a one set advantage.

Nadal found his groove in the second set and took it 6-4 after Berlocq flubbed what looked like an easy put away volley into the net.

Berlocq recovered in the final set as he broke Nadal and jumped out to a 3-1 lead. But urged on by the partisan Sao Paulo crowd, Nadal finally began to return Berlocq's serve with more aggression. That eventually forced a double fault that put Nadal level at 3-all.

Now playing with more purpose, Nadal took control of the final set. Down match point, Berlocq sent a final forehand wide giving a jubilant Nadal a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

Nadal will now face in the semifinals lucky loser and World No. 111 Martin Alund. Alund is having the best tournament of his career after earlier beating Jeremy Chardy and today winning over Filippo Volandri 7-5, 7-6(5).

Nalbandian Edges Defending Champion Almagro

In a tight three set battle that went down to a final set tiebreak, David Nalbandian edged out last year's champion Nicolas Almagro 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(3). Nalbandian is aiming for his first title in nearly three years since winning Washington D.C. in 2010.

Waiting for Nalbandian is Italy's Simone Bolelli who is also having his best event in several years. Bolelli upset Juan Monaco earlier in the week and continued his run to the semis with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Albert Montanes.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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