Holder Rafael Nadal marched into the semi-finals of the ATP-WTA Madrid Masters as he snuffed out any challenge from Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2 in little more than an hour.
Nadal’s victory was his 36th in succession on clay — his last loss came at Roland Garros to Robin Soderling at 2009 .
Meanwhile, Tomaz Bellucci became the first Brazilian to enter the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 since three-time Roland Garros champion Gustaveo Kuerten in 2003 thanks to a defeat of Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
On the women’s side, Julia Goerges booked the first of the semi-final spots, defeating Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-2. She next faces Victoria Azarenka, who battled past Czech Lucie Safarova 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2011.