Finally, Ferrer trumps Nadal
World No. 1 suffers rare loss in Monte Carlo as Swiss stars Federer and Wawrinka also make last four
David Ferrer produced a major upset at the Monte Carlo Masters as the persistent Spaniard stunned eight-time champion Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 in the quarter-finals yesterday.
Ferrer, seeded sixth, handed the top seed only his third loss at the tournament a day after Nadal had won his 300th clay match of his career and 50th at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
While world No. 2 Novak Djokovic was still battling Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the last quarter-final at press time, Roger Federer came through a tough encounter against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 to book his spot in the semi-finals.
Ferrer came to the court with a 5-21 deficit against his compatriot, whose form has dropped this season.
He will face off today against Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Nadal in that Grand Slam final and booked his place with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 win over Canadian Milos Raonic.
Nadal's only other losses at the tournament occurred in the 2003 third round against Guillermo Coria and last year, when he went down in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the final.
"I have had to wait 10 years to beat him on clay. It was a long wait but I am pleased with the win and the way I played," Ferrer told Spanish TV later.
"I spoke with my coach and we had a clear gameplan but with Rafa it's always tough because he doesn't allow you to follow it. The good thing was I was able to deal with his attacks and stay strong physically for the whole match."
Nadal was well off the boil from the start in a contest where the opening set took 75 minutes and the third game required a quarter of an hour.
The top seed ended his quest with a forehand to the net, his 44th unforced error.
Ferrer battled his nerves as he served for victory leading 5-2, but was broken.
On his second chance, the 32-year-old got the job done after two hours, 11 minutes.
The win was the first on clay for Ferrer against Nadal in a decade.
Wawrinka, who had a walkover in the previous round when Spain's Nicolas Almagro pulled out with a foot injury, took control as Canadian Raonic twice lost leads in the opening set tie-breaker.
The mistakes gave an opening to Wawrinka, who took the first set on his first opportunity and then broke to start the second as the frustrated Raonic let go of a 40-15 lead in the first game.
From that point on, momentum totally shifted to the Swiss world No. 3, who broke the Canadian again for 5-2 before serving out for the match in 90 minutes.
"I showed him on every point that the match will be tough for him," said Wawrinka. "Even in the first set he was staying with me. He was close to winning the tie-break.
"But it was a tough set for him because he had to play his best, he had to always try something.
"I felt strong from the baseline, I feel good physically. I know that on clay courts if I play my best tennis I can beat those guys."
The Swiss was playing his third consecutive quarter-final at the event, which marks the start of the European clay season and the run-up to Roland Garros which begins on May 25. - AFP.
“When the opponent is doing the things better than you, the normal thing is to lose. That’s what happened today. I didn’t play the right way... I gave him the chance to have the control of the point almost all the time. He did much better than me, so just congratulate him.”
— World No. 1 Rafa Nadal, after being shocked by compatriot David Ferrer