Russia's Nikolay Davydenko (photo) pulled back from being a set down to beat Czech Radek Stepanek and reach the Barcelona Open semi-finals where he will meet claycourt king Rafael Nadal. Gonzalez will play Ferrer, completing the semi-final lineup.
REUTERS - Nikolay Davydenko fought back from a set down to beat Radek Stepanek 6-7 6-2 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open on Friday and set up a last-four clash against world number one Rafael Nadal.
The Russian third seed was joined in the semi-finals by Chilean fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez, who defeated second-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3 4-6 6-4.
Gonzalez will play last year's runner-up David Ferrer for a place in Sunday's final after the Spanish fourth seed knocked out compatriot and 2004 winner Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4.
Davydenko lost the first-set tiebreak to Stepanek 7-4 but went on to break the Czech's serve twice in each of the next two sets, marking his best performance at the tournament since 2005 when he also made the semis.
The world number eight, who returned to the tour in Monte Carlo after two months out with a heel injury, said his standard of play had not been good enough on Friday to beat Nadal but he would be giving his all on Saturday.
"I am trying to get back up to the level I was at before so I can beat players like (Andy) Murray or (Novak) Djokovic and this is a good chance for me to show my game," he said at a news conference.
Asked what his strategy would be, he added: "It's a secret. If I tell the media he (Nadal) will read it tomorrow and you will see what happens."
Top seed Nadal had been due to play David Nalbandian on Friday for a place in the semis but a hip injury forced the seventh-seeded Argentine to withdraw from the tournament.
Nadal has won in Barcelona the past four years and became the first man to win the Monte Carlo Masters five times in a row when he beat Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.
Date created : 2009-04-24