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Rafael Nadal beats James Blake in Key Biscayne quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal beats James Blake in Key Biscayne quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal converted only four of 19 break-point chances yet still beat James Blake 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday.
Jelena Jankovic advanced to the women's semifinals when Elena Dementieva retired with a back injury trailing 6-3, 3-1.
Nadal's first service break came with a ferocious backhand passing shot for a 5-3 lead in the second set. He broke three more times in the final set, including on the final point. When a demoralized Blake hit his last forehand long, Nadal leaped and punched the air.
"Right now I am feeling like I am playing at my best level," Nadal said.
Ranked No. 2, Nadal is seeking his first tournament title this year and his first title at Key Biscayne. On Friday he'll play the winner of a late Wednesday match between No. 10-seeded Tomas Berdych and No. 31 Igor Andreev.
Blake said he felt fine physically in the afternoon heat and could have played three more sets, but he blamed himself for allowing Nadal back into the match.
"I played my game for a while, and then I got a little indecisive," Blake said. "I wasn't attacking as much. They say the heat can affect your mind, too. Maybe it got to my head."
Dementieva said her back began bothering her on Tuesday, and she called it quits against Jankovic after 58 minutes.
The loss ended an eight-match winning streak for the 10th-seeded Dementieva.
No. 4 Jankovic barely survived her opening match in the tournament. In the third set against Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden, Jankovic overcame a 5-1 deficit, then saved five match points in a tiebreaker
"It was a scary feeling, you know, just thinking that I may be over with this tournament," Jankovic said. "But I was really strong mentally and was able to get through that match, which gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the tournament."
The Serb has since swept every set in the past three matches.
Jankovic had never advanced beyond the third round in five previous appearances at Key Biscayne. She's seeking her first tournament title this year, and on Thursday she'll face 19th-seeded Vera Zvonareva, who beat No. 13 Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-4.
Four-time Key Biscayne champion Serena Williams will play No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the other semifinal.


Updated : 2021-10-26 14:51 GMT+08:00