Nadal digs deep to keep heat on Djokovic
Originally published on: 04/10/13 00:00
The Spaniard is now just one win away from sealing a return to the top of the world rankings for the first time since July 2011.
Nadal, who has won 10 titles since his return from a knee injury in February, battled from a set and a double break down to overcome the Italian 2-6 6-4 6-1 to reach the semi-finals, where he will meet Tomas Berdych.
Faced with suffering his first loss since his first round defeat at Wimbledon, Nadal was one point away from going 2-6 1-5 down, but roared back to remain unbeaten in 25 matches on hard courts in 2013.
Victory over Berdych, a 7-5 6-2 winner against John Isner on Friday, will secure Nadal’s return to No.1 at the expense of Novak Djokovic. However, the US Open champion insists that he is not feeling added pressure ahead of his next match.
"It's something that doesn't create more pressure for me," Nadal said. "It's something that already happened in the past.
"I am going to have a very tough opponent in front of me. In the end, it's another match.
"True, it's a little bit more special for the circumstances, but nothing else. It's the semi-final match of a big tournament, I am going to try to be competitive and try to play my best tennis.
“If not, I am going to have no chance to be through. It is not the moment to think about No. 1; it is the moment to think about Berdych."