HAMBURG: Top seed Rafael Nadal defeated fifth seed Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2 on Friday (Saturday in Manila) to set up a Hamburg semifinals clash against Italian veteran Andreas Seppi.
Nadal, 29, broke the Cuevas serve five times on his way to a second triumph over the Uruguayan this year, having also beaten the South American in the Rio quarterfinals in February.
Nadal is playing in Hamburg for the first time since 2008, when he won the trophy with victory over Roger Federer, as the left-hander looks to breathe life back into his flagging season.
“I played I think 90 per cent of the match doing the right things, doing the right shots every time and waiting for my moment,” said Nadal, who is chasing his 47th clay-court title.
Seppi, who knocked Federer out of the Australian Open this year, enjoyed a walkover into Saturday’s semifinals when compatriot Simone Bolelli withdrew due to gastroenteritis.
Seppi trails Nadal 5-1 in career clashes with his only win coming in 2008 in Rotterdam.
“He’s a great player,” said Nadal of the Italian. “He’s a very consistent player that has very, very solid shots from the baseline and changing very well the direction.”
The other semi-final sees French qualifier Lucas Pouille face Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
World number 85 Pouille defeated countryman Benoit Paire, who was champion on clay at Bastad last weekend, 6-3, 6-2.
Eighth seed Fognini beat Britain’s Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 7-5.