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19:39 14 December
11:13 14 December
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Nadal closes on 500th career victory


Baku – APA. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is on the verge of another notable career milestone after cruising into the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Friday, APA reports quoting CNN.
The Spaniard needed just 75 minutes to brush off the challenge of French seventh seed Gael Monfils, winning 6-2 6-2 to clinch the 499th match victory of his career.
It was his 27th successive success at the clay-court event, which he won five years in a row before missing last year’s tournament, and his 32nd in a row on his favored surface.
Nadal has dropped only two sets in the Catalan capital since his second-round defeat by Alex Corretja in 2003.
The 24-year-old will next face Croatia’s 56th-ranked Ivan Dodig, who beat Nadal’s compatriot and fellow left-hander Feliciano Lopez 6-4 2-6 6-4 in just under two hours.
Nadal still has some way to go before he gets near the record number of post-1968 Open Era victories of 1,222 which is held by American legend Jimmy Connors.
Ivan Lendl is the only player to have reached four figures, while Nadal’s great rival Roger Federer is the only other current player in the top-10.
The 16-time grand slam champion, who like world No. 2 Novak Djokovic is not playing this week, is in eighth place with 743 wins.
In Friday’s second completed quarterfinal, fourth seed and two-time finalist David Ferrer beat Austrian No. 6 Jurgen Melzer 6-3 6-3 in 86 minutes following a short rain delay in a rematch of last weekend’s semi in Monte Carlo.
Ferrer, beaten by Nadal in last Sunday’s final, will next take on either eighth seed Nicolas Almagro or their fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2001 Barcelona champion and runner-up in 2005.
The main women’s event this week in Germany will resume on Saturday after a public holiday, with No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki facing Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.
Last year’s runner-up Samantha Stosur of Australia will take on Julia Gorges, the first German to reach the last-four stage since 1999.

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