Barcelona - Andy
Murray gained revenge on Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas and nine-time
champion Rafael Nadal cruised into the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open
Ramos-Vinolas beat the world number one on Murray's
return from an elbow injury in the third round of the Monte Carlo
Masters last week.
He threatened to repeat that upset when he
served for the match in the third set, but Murray battled back to edge
out the world number 19 by 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) after three hours on
"It was obviously a very tough match," said Murray, who got
his wish for match practice ahead of next month's French Open after
taking a late wildcard to enter the draw in the Catalan capital.
was kind of the opposite of the match we had last week where probably
today he deserved to win. He created a lot more chances, he served for
the match and couldn't quite get it.
"Last week I had 4-0 (in the
third set), I felt like I had all of the chances. Sometimes on clay
matches happen this way, so very happy to get through because it was
Ramos-Vinolas is in the form of his life having risen to a career-high ranking after reaching the final in Monte Carlo.
He dominated the opening stages, taking five straight games after Murray started with a comfortable hold.
Murray edged the second with the only break in the 10th game.
Breaks were exchanged early in the decider, whilst Ramos-Vinolas also had to take an injury timeout after twisting his ankle.
had the chance to serve it out when he broke again for 5-4, but nerves
seemed to get the better of him as three errors handed Murray the break
Murray raced out to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreak and saw it
out as Ramos-Vinolas's efforts over the past two weeks finally began to
take their toll.
The Wimbledon champion faces Dominic Thiem in
Saturday's semis after the Austrian ended Japanese lucky loser Yuichi
Sugita's unlikely run to the quarters 6-1, 6-2.
Nadal also enjoyed
a comfortable afternoon as his quest for a 10th Barcelona title
continued unhindered with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 win over Korean qualifier
The 14-time Grand Slam champion had to battle back
from a break down in the first set to take it on a tiebreak before
romping through the second.
"I gave him a bit too much respect," said Nadal.
"At the start he was dominating, but I think once I broke back to 3-3 the match was more in my hands."
will be a strong favourite to reach the final when he takes on Horacio
Zeballos in the last four after the Argentine beat Russia's Karen
Khachanov 6-4, 6-1.
Results from the ATP Barcelona Open on Friday (x denotes seeding):
Dominic Thiem (AUT x4) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-1, 6-2
Andy Murray (GBR x1) Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP x10) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) bt Hyeon Chung (KOR) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2
Horacio Zeballos (ARG) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4, 6-1