HAMBURG, Germany -- Rafael Nadal extended his record winning
streak on clay to 80 matches by defeating Fernando Gonzalez 6-4,
6-4 Friday to reach the semifinals of the Hamburg Masters.
Roger Federer also reached the semis, but struggled to beat
David Ferrer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The world No. 1 is aiming for his
fourth title at the Hamburg Masters, a tuneup for the French Open.
His next opponent is Carlos Moya, who upset fourth-seeded Novak
Djokovic 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-5.
Nadal is undefeated on clay since April 2005. His run includes
13 titles on the surface. Nadal also beat Gonzalez on Sunday for
his third Rome Masters title and evened his career record against
him at 3-3.
"I am very comfortable with my game," Nadal said. He will play
Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals -- against whom he has 1-4 record --
after the Australian beat Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4 in his first
clay-court quarterfinals in three years.
Federer had never dropped a set against Ferrer in six previous
"I didn't serve very well in the second set and he took
advantage of it," Federer said. "He is has one of the best
returns in the game, I knew it would be a tough match."
Federer broke serve in the first and last game to cruise through
the first set.
But the second was tougher for Federer, who made several
mistakes while his Spanish opponent raised his game. Federer served
for a 5-2 lead, but could not hold and Ferrer rallied to win the
next three games. Serving for the set, Ferrer double-faulted on his
first set point before Federer hit a backhand long.
Serving at 3-3 and 30-30 in the third set, Federer hit a sloppy
forehand, but it clipped the net and bounced inside beyond Ferrer's
reach. It proved to be the turning point, with Ferrer throwing his
racket to the ground in frustration. Federer then served out the
game with an ace.
"I got lucky on that cord, that was huge at the end," Federer
In the next game, Federer wasted four break points before
converting to take a 5-3 lead and serving out the match.
"I was feeling very good off the baseline, and I served well in
the first and third sets," he said.
Federer, who has won the Hamburg Masters in three of his last
four visits, is aiming for his first French Open title to complete
a career Grand Slam. Federer has gone four straight tournaments
without a title -- his worst run since becoming No. 1 in February
The 19-year-old Djokovic and 30-year-old Moya provided an
enthralling match. Moya, a former top-ranked player who dropped to
36th, saved two set points before winning the first.
"When I play at this level, I can beat some good players,"
Djokovic, winner of three titles this season, got the upper hand
in the second with his powerful ground strokes, but he fell behind
in the third.
Moya served for the match at 5-3, wasted one match point and
dropped his serve. Djokovic fought back to tie at 5-5.
Djokovic mixed great winners with too many errors. Serving to
force a tiebreaker, he made three straight unforced errors to give
Moya three match points. Djokovic saved two, but Moya then hit a
forehand down the line. Djokovic got his racket to it, but his
crosscourt attempt went wide.
"I made too many unforced errors," Djokovic said. "He's an
experienced player and he took advantage of it."