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Ferrer and Nadal reach semi-finals

The Spaniards David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal booked their places in the semi-finals of the Tennis Masters Cup after recording straight-sets victories in Shanghai yesterday.

Ferrer saw off the Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-1 to come through the Gold Group with a perfect 3-0 record in the season-ending tournament that features the top eight players in the world this year. The result ensured Nadal also reached the last four after he beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4.

Ferrer dropped only two games as he overwhelmed his French opponent in just under an hour, hitting 18 winners as Gasquet managed to win just 31 per cent of his service points in a match that did not feature a single ace. And coming after wins over Nadal and Djokovic, the Spaniard continued to belie his underdog status as he attempts to become the first debutant to win the event since Alex Corretja in 1998.

Nadal missed five break points against Djokovic but still came out on top after an hour and 44 minutes of an enthralling contest, thanks in large part to a strong first serve and managing to save three of the four break points he faced. Needing to win in straight sets to make the semi-finals for a second straight year, Nadal was delighted with his display against the Serb.

"I played a very, very good match – my best match here and one of my best matches of the indoor season," he said.