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Nadal: Warm Up Sparked Winning Run

NBA great Allen Iverson made "practice" go viral. Rafael Nadal has made practice vital to his resurgence.

Nadal scored his 300th career Masters 1000 victory rolling a weary Stan Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-1, to roar into the Shanghai Rolex Masters semifinals.

Video: Nadal on Rivals

The 14-time Grand Slam champion says raising the quality of his pre-match warm-ups to practice sessions is a key component to his winning run in China.

"I am practicing a lot even before every match," Nadal told the media in Shanghai. "The warm ups are not warm ups anymore, they are like a practice. I enjoy the way we are doing the things. I am practicing well. We are moving to try to go a next step in terms of level."
Before Shanghai, Nadal had not beaten a Top 10 opponent since defeating Tomas Berdych in Madrid last May. His victory over the fourth-seeded Wawrinka was his second straight win over a Top 10-opponent sending Nadal into his eighth semifinal of the season.
Runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the Beijing final last week—his first hard-court title match since the 2014 Miami final — Nadal has won seven of his last eight matches. 

The seventh-ranked Spaniard is hitting his forehand with more authority, asserting his athleticism by playing all-court points and backing up his serve with more conviction: Nadal has dropped serve just once en route to his semifinal against 16th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal is 8-3 lifetime versus the 30-year-old Frenchman.

The man who once said "suffering" is a requirement for winning Grand Slam titles seems to be savoring his time on court these days. Nadal said posting positive results at upcoming tournaments in Basel and the Paris Indoors can give him the foundation for a strong start to 2016.

"The main objective is simple: try to finish the season as good as I can," Nadal told the media at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. "All the moments that I can spend on the court is going to be an important practice for next year, no? I take this last part of the season like a preparation for the next one, try to do the things I need to do to start strong next year.

"Obviously Shanghai is a very important tournament, then Basel, then Bercy, then hopefully the Masters. Every tournament is so important. I going to fight as I do all the time. But without losing the main goal, and that is have the right practice for the next year."