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Nadal breezes into VTR Open semi-finals

9 February 2013 02:13

Rafael Nadal continued his strong return from injury with a straight sets win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver at the VTR Open on Friday.

The Spanish top seed, competing at his first tournament since June last year, cruised past his countryman and seventh seed Gimeno-Traver 6-1 6-4 on the clay courts in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Nadal, an 11-time grand slam champion, was sidelined for seven months due to a left knee injury and illness.

The world number one broke serve three times in the quarter-final clash at the ATP 250 event and said he was growing in confidence.

"Today I had more confidence than the other days. That is positive," Nadal said.

"It gives me confidence and reasons to believe that I'm on the right way. I'm happy to win in singles against a tough opponent like Dani and to reach the semi-finals after seven months.

"In this tournament I had a good feeling. The crowd gave me their support all the time. It helps a lot when you come with a bad feeling."

Nadal will face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the semi-finals after the third seed easily beat Italian Paolo Lorenzo, the sixth seed, 6-2 6-3.

Chardy, who reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open in January, will take on Nadal for the first time on Saturday.

The other side of the draw saw Horacio Zeballos continue his dream run, edging Spanish fifth seed Albert Ramos 6-1 5-7 7-6 (8-6).

It took Zeballos, who beat fourth seed Pablo Andujar in the second round, two hours and 36 minutes to record the win.

He will face his Argentine countryman Carlos Berlocq in the semi-finals after the eighth seed advanced, with Frenchman Guillaume Rufin withdrawing with an abdominal strain.

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