Dementieva falls in quarters as Nadal crushes Safin
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:47
Rafael Nadal stopped Marat Safin’s Beijing revival in its tracks, keeping his unbeaten record in Beijing intact with a clinical 6-3 6-1 victory to reach the semi-finals of the China Open.
The world No.2, playing his first tournament since returning from an abdominal injury, dominated a short but entertaining encounter against former world No.1 Safin, who is retiring at the end of the year.
But fellow Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva was upset 7-5 6-3 in her quarter-final match with Agnieszka Radwanska on her return to the Beijing National Tennis Center.
A single ace was all Safin could muster against a virtuoso performance from Nadal, who had an answer for virtually everything the Russian threw at him as he converted his one break point in the first set and raced away with the second.
“I played a really good match,” said Nadal, who missed Wimbledon earlier in the season with tendinitis in both knees. “I played good matches yesterday and today and I’m really happy.
“I’m feeling better now than during the American season. I don’t know if I am playing at my best level but we’ll see over the rest of the tournament.”
Nadal will play Marin Cilic for a place in his first final since Madrid Masters 1000 in May after the Croatian beat No.4 seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-4 6-4 earlier in the day.
Defeat for Dementieva ended involvement for all five top-ranked women in Beijing ahead of the semi-finals, and ended the Russian’s winning streak at the Olympic tennis venue at nine matches.
Dementieva had faced little resistance on her way to the quarter-finals as other seeds fell even earlier, but Radwanska broke her serve early in the match and never let her settle.
“The competition here is hard, you have to be 100% from the beginning of tournament,” said Dementieva. “While I cannot talk for all of the players, I feel like I was just not good enough today.”
Radwanska, the No.12 seed, will meet Marion Bartoli in the semi-finals after the Frenchwoman beat Vera Zvonareva 3-6 7-5 6-2.
Nadia Petrova ended Peng Shuai’s giant-killing run in the last eight, winning 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2 to beat the local hero who had beaten Jelena Jankovic and Maria Sharapova earlier in the week.
Petrova faces No.6 seed and former champ Svetlana Kuznetsova, who posted a 6-3 6-3 win over compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.