Nadal eases into semis; Murray shown door

Serena withdraws after suffering thigh injury

Nadal eases into semis; Murray shown door

Andy Murray was overwhelmed 6-3, 6-2 by Santiago Giraldo and champion Rafael Nadal eased past Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Madrid Open semis on FridayWimbledon champion Murray, returning to action after a month's break, showed mental strength to beat Nicolas Almagro in the last round but he was never in the contest against Giraldo, who claimed his first top-10 scalp.

Briton Murray lost his opening service game and could not cope with the power and accuracy of his Colombian opponent who comfortably won the first set.

There was no change in momentum in the second and Giraldo, who reached the Barcelona final last month, next takes on Roberto Bautista Agut who beat Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-2.

World number one Nadal has not been his dominant best on his favoured clay this year, losing in the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, but had a relatively easy ride against the outclassed Czech sixth seed, whom he has now beaten 18 times in 21 meetings on all surfaces. 

Nadal broke the Berdych serve three times without losing his own and with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic withdrawing and Andy Murray knocked out on Thursday he remains firmly on course for a fourth Madrid Masters crown.

Barcelona Open champion Kei Nishikori of Japan reached the quarterfinals after beating eighth seed Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), his eighth successive victory on clay.

Serena pulls out

Serena Williams has pulled out of the Madrid Open with a thigh injury ahead of her quarterfinal against Petra Kvitova, the world number one said on Friday. Williams, winner of the last two editions of the tournament, suffered the injury in her first-round match against Belinda Bencic and with the French Open just two weeks away, she decided to pull out to give herself time to recover.

“I have a left thigh injury and, unfortunately, have to withdraw from this year's Madrid Open,” the 32-year-old American said in a statement.

“It happened during my first-round match. It started to get better, but most importantly right now, I just need some time to rest and recover. It's beyond words. It's so frustrating.”

Meanwhile, Roger Federer will take part in the French Open despite earlier suggesting he may take time out to be with his wife Mirka, who gave birth to the couple’s second set of twins this week. Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick said the Swiss intends to feature at the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros in Paris on May 25, where he would stretch his consecutive run of Grand Slam events to 58. “Roger plans on playing Roland Garros and he will make a decision at the last minute if he will play Rome (next week) depending on how everything is going with his family,” said Godsick.

Mirka Federer gave birth to sons Leo and Lenny on Tuesday. The couple already have twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Ri, who will be five in July.

Federer, 32, has played in a record 57 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, this past January eclipsing the mark previously set by Wayne Ferreira in 2003.

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