Nadal crushes Llodra; Bellucci enters semis

Nadal crushes Llodra; Bellucci enters semis

Georges tames Pavlyuchenkova to storm into last four

Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka whips a backhand return during her quarterfinal win over Czech Lucie Safarova in the Madrid Open on Friday. AP

The Spaniard was joined in the last four by unseeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, who caused another upset following Thursday's third-round victory over fourth seed Andy Murray when he knocked out Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-3.

Bellucci, a stylish left-hander whose previous best at a Masters event was a fourth-round berth in Miami in 2010, will play second seed Novak Djokovic or sixth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer for a place in Sunday's final.
He told a news conference his success against Briton Murray, the biggest win of his career, had given him a confidence boost and he felt ready to take on anyone.

“I was losing some matches and wasn't playing very well but yesterday I played my best tennis and today I had a lot of confidence on the court,” the 23-year-old world number 36 told a news conference after beating the seventh seed.

“I have got even more confidence for tomorrow's match,” he added. “I've got to face the match shot after shot and ball after ball so if I continue down this path I think I'm going to do well. I think I can beat anyone.”

Nadal, defending champion at the Magic Box arena in the Spanish capital, recorded back-to-back titles on his beloved clay at the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open in April, beating Davis Cup team-mate Ferrer in both finals.

The 24-year-old Spaniard's win against the unseeded Llodra was his 36th consecutive victory on the red dirt since falling to Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the 2009 French Open.

Georges keeps winning

Julia Goerges continued her impressive run on clay when she brushed aside Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-2 to set up a semifinal against fourth seed Victoria Azarenka.

A break of the Pavlyu-chenkova serve in the first set and two in the second were enough to put Goerges through to the semifinals and she sealed victory against the world number 21 on her first match point with a thumping forehand winner down the line.

Belarussian Azarenka dropped her first set of the week against unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova before coming through 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the second quarterfinal of the day.
Goerges and Azarenka were joined in the last four by Li Na of China, losing finalist at this Australian Open. The sixth seed battled past unseeded American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.