Rio de Janeiro, Feb 22 IANS | 10 months ago

World No.1 Rafael Nadal cruised into the Rio Open semifinals with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Portugal's Joao Sousa.

The 27-year-old will face fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar Saturday for a place in the final of the inaugural ATP World Tour 500 clay-court event, reports Xinhua.

Andujar advanced by disposing of compatriot Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-1.

Second-seed David Ferrer will play unseeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the other semifinal. Ferrer beat Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 while Dolgopolov overcame third-seed Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-1.

Nadal said he was no longer affected by the back injury suffered during his loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final last month.

"I played a complete match, my best of the tournament," Nadal said after the win Friday.

"I was able to move better and with more intensity. I don't want to talk about my back. I am happy to be in the semifinal and now I will be facing a tough opponent."

In the women's event, top seed Klara Zakopalova reached the last four after defeating Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-4, 6-0.

The Czech will play Teliana Pereira for a place in the final after the Brazilian overcame Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 6-4.

(Posted on 22-02-2014)

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