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Nadal survives another marathon clash

WORLD No. 1 Rafael Nadal, taken the distance for the third match running, outlasted Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 on Friday to reach the semifinals of the ABN Amro in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Nadal, who went to three sets against Simone Bolelli and Grigor Dimitrov earlier this week, next meets fifth seed Gael Monfils, who beat French compatriot Julien Benneteau 7-6 (4), 6-1.

World No. 4 Andy Murray was 7-6 (2), 4-6, 3-0 up on Marc Gicquel when the Frenchman was forced to retire with a groin injury.

The second-seeded Briton now plays unseeded Croat Mario Ancic, who beat 2007 champion Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-4, 6-2.

Nadal made a good start against seventh seed Tsonga, taking the opening set. Tsonga, who hit 26 aces in the match, fought back to claim the second set on a tiebreak.

However, the Frenchman could not put pressure on the Spaniard's serve in the decider and Nadal clinched victory on his first match point.

"This was a completely different match from my first I played my best tennis so far in Rotterdam," Nadal said after an encounter lasting two hours 40 minutes.

In San Jose, California, top-seed Andy Roddick beat Germany's Tommy Haas 7-5, 6-4 to lead a trio of Americans into the semifinals of the SAP Open on Friday.

The defending champion fired eight aces en route to the last four, where he was joined by compatriots James Blake and Mardy Fish.

Blake overcame an ankle injury to defeat fellow American Sam Querrey 7-6 (9), 6-3 and set up a showdown with Fish, who eliminated second-seeded Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 6-4.

Qualifier Todd Widom had a chance to make it an all-American last four after taking the first set off Czech fourth seed Radek Stepanek but eventually lost 7-5, 0-6, 0-6.


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