Fish packs off Nadal; Federer falls early

Murray, Sharapova march into semifinals

To the delight of a packed home crowd, American hard court specialist Mardy Fish beat Nadal for the first time in his career, 6-3, 6-4, to book a spot in the semifinals where he will face Britain's Andy Murray.

Then Federer was undone 6-2, 7-6(3) by Czech Tomas Berdych, who after beating him twice last year is becoming something of a bogeyman for the Swiss. World number one Novak Djokovic then survived a scare before the Serbian rallied to beat sixth seed Frenchman Gael Monfils 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. 

Fish entered the match having lost his prior six meetings with the Spaniard but battled hard against Nadal, who, troubled by his burnt fingers and foot blisters, struggled against his opponent's serve.

Nadal handed Fish the advantage in the first set with a double-fault on break point, and the American played on with greater confidence. The seventh-seeded Fish, who produced 12 aces, made the decisive break to go up 3-2 in the second set when Nadal went long on a return.

After having the bandage on his foot changed, Nadal found some extra power as he fought in vain to break back. But Fish's powerful serve was on display in the final game when he served to love for the match.

Nadal, who burnt his fingers on a hot plate at a local restaurant earlier in the week, had played a three and half hour, three-setter against Fernando Verdasco on Thursday and then kept his doubles commitment. But he said his game had simply not been at its best.

"I didn't play well. It was a bit of an unlucky week for me with the burned fingers and the very long match yesterday. There is no excuse though — the only excuse is that he played better than me," he said.

The centre court crowd then watched another surprise as Berdych delivered a reminder of his quality. Federer, who had won 24 of his previous 26 games in Cincinnati, never got to grips with Berdych's powerful serve. Murray enjoyed a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over France's Gilles Simon in his quarterfinal.

Sharapova progresses
Maria Sharapova marched into the semifinals after crushing Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to set up a last four meeting with fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva.

Germany's Andrea Petkovic will face Serbian Jelena Jankovic in the other semifinal — China's Peng Shuai withdrew from her clash with Jankovic due to injury. Sharapova now comes up against a familiar foe in compatriot Zvonareva after the world number two claimed a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Slovak Daniela Hantuchova.

A buoyant looking Petkovic defeated Russian Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-1 and now comes up against Jankovic, who after a marathon three set game against Francesca Schiavone on Thursday, was given a walkover when Peng withdrew with a left hip injury.

Bhupathi-Paes  in semis
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi advanced to the men’s doubles semifinals while compatriot Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi bowed out of the Western & Southern championships.

Bhupathi and Paes, seeded third, received a walkover into the semifinals after Czech pair of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek withdrew. Berdych cited a right shoulder injury.

The Indians now face defending champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the US, who beat seventh seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-6(5), 7-6(3). The fifth-seeded pair of Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi were outplayed by fourth seeds Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic 3-6, 2-6.

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