Nadal, Murray reach French semifinals
PARIS - For the first time in this year's French Open, eight-time champion Rafael Nadal dropped a set Wednesday.
And his opponent, fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, not only was the runner-up at Roland Garros a year ago - to Nadal, of course - but he also beat Nadal on red clay the last time they met.
From late in the second set, the top seed won 10 games in a row, and 13 of 14 the rest of the way, to come back and beat No. 5 Ferrer, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1, setting up a semifinal Friday against Wimbledon champion Andy Murray of Britain.
"At the beginning," Nadal acknowledged, "David was playing with a higher intensity than me."
But once Nadal made a key adjustment - deciding to dispense with his surprisingly off-target backhand as much as possible and instead do whatever he could to use his topspin-heavy forehand - he took over.
"When I was able to hit with my forehand," Nadal said, "I felt that I was in control."
In his 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 victory over No. 23 Gael Monfils, the seventh-seeded Murray played in front of a crowd loudly pulling for the Frenchman. He raced through the fifth set in 21 minutes, winning 24 of 31 points, as Monfils appeared to stop trying.
Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep completed the women's semifinal pairings with straight-set wins, and one of them will be in a Grand Slam final for the first time.
Petkovic, a 28th-seeded German, beat 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy, the No. 10 seed, 6-2, 6-2. The fourth-seeded Halep, of Romania, defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, a 27th-seeded Russian, also by 6-2, 6-2.
Petkovic and Halep will meet Thursday with a spot in the final against either Maria Sharapova or Eugenie Bouchard on the line.