PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates victory in his men's singles quarter final match against Nicolas Almagro of Spain during day 11 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 6, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

French Open 2012: Semifinals Set After Nadal, Ferrer Advance

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Ferrer Outlasts Murray, Advances To Semis

In front of a partisan crowd, 30-year old David Ferrer, the world's No. 6 player, took out No. 4 Andy Murray in four sets, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, to advance to the French Open semifinals. It is his third slam semifinal, his first on the Roland Garros clay.

Murray, troubled by his back for much of the tournament and by his forehand for much of the quarterfinal started slow yet again, quickly losing five of the match's first seven games. But he rebounded to take the second set and, after two sets, had produced 31 winners to 29 unforced errors. But the ratio fell apart in the final two sets; Murray managed only 18 winners to 30 errors and was broken six times. Ferrer, meanwhile, did what Ferrer does: he got his first serve in (first serve percentage: 64 percent), and he played mostly error-free tennis. His reward: a semifinal match versus an opponent (Rafael Nadal) to whom he has lost 15 straight sets on clay.

An interesting subplot to this match: the crowd was vehemently in favor of Ferrer after taking issue with Andy Murray's use of injury timeouts in previous matches. If you're keeping score at home:

  • Roger Federer shouts at the crowd to shut up in the second set of his win over Juan Martin Del Potro. Crowd still cheers for him for the rest of the match.
  • Andy Murray gets treatment for his back. Crowd turns on him. Good times in Paris.

You can see a full French Open scoreboard at SI.com.

For more updates on the 2012 French Open, please stay tuned to this StoryStream. For lots more on all things tennis, keep checking SB Nation's dedicated tennis hub.

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Nadal Cruises To French Open 2012 Semis

Even when you can match up well with Rafael Nadal from an offensive perspective, you still need to be able to win the key points. Nicolas Almagro won his share of rallies early on but eventually faded, losing to the six-time champion, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The first set was almost exactly even; Nadal won 42 points to Almagro's 38, and neither saw his serve seriously threatened. But on the first point of the tiebreaker, Almagro dumped an ill-advised drop shot into the net -- the shot was so bad that Almagro looked like he was angry about it before racquet even met ball. Nadal went up 5-1 in the 'breaker, cruised to a 7-4 win, then took the final two sets rather easily.

For the match, Almagro actually had more winners than Nadal (39 to 36), but he committed 29 more errors (45 to 16). Combine that with the fact that Nadal won seven of the match's 10 break points (3-for-6 on Almagro's serve, 4-for-4 on his own), and you've got the difference in the match. Almagro is a rising star on clay, but he isn't Rafael Nadal. Nadal will face the winner of the ongoing quarterfinal between No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 6 David Ferrer on Friday.

You can see a full French Open scoreboard at SI.com.

For more updates on the 2012 French Open, please stay tuned to this StoryStream. For lots more on all things tennis, keep checking SB Nation's dedicated tennis hub.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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The Quarterfinals Have Lived Up To Their Billing

Can Nicolas Almagro slug his way past the ultimate clay-court slugger, Rafael Nadal? Can Andy Murray limp all the way to the semis? Can one of two women pull a huge upset?

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