Ferrer topples Nadal on clay
David Ferrer sent top seed and eight-time champion Rafael Nadal crashing out of the Monte Carlo Masters with a shock 7-6 (1) 6-4 victory.
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In the all-Spanish duel, the 32-year-old came out on top to record his first success against the 14-time Grand Slam champion on the red dirt in 10 years.
Nadal came into the clash on a 30-match winning streak and led the head-to-head series between the pair 21-5, including wins in nine of their last 10 encounters and 17 straight matches on clay since 2004.
But against all the odds the sixth seed produced one of his greatest performances to reach the last-four in two hours and 13 minutes.
Ferrer handed the top seed only his third loss at the tournament a day after Nadal had won his 300th clay match of his career and 50th at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
Ferrer was determined not to be a makeweight though and flew through the tie-breaker before building a 5-2 lead in the second set, although a wobble on his serve gave Nadal hope.
But on his second attempt to serve out the match, Ferrer got the job done. At 30-all, the nerves may have been twitching, but a powerful forehand inside the right sideline was too good for Nadal, setting up match point.
Ferrer did not need to find another spanking winner as Nadal netted to seal his own fate.
He will next meet Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-finals after the Swiss ace reached the last-four for just the second time in his career after dispatching Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/5) 6-2.
He was given a stern test during the opening set though, with the big-hitting Canadian taking a 5-3 lead in the tie-breaker.
However, Wawrinka hit back to win the next four points before going on to seal the match in exactly 90 minutes.
Wawrinka finished with 30 winners and 28 unforced errors and never faced a break point.
He now stands 3-0 over Raonic, who was playing his first clay court quarter-final at the Masters 1000 level.
Wawrinka, who had a walkover in the previous round when Spain's Nicolas Almagro pulled out with a foot injury, improved his season record to an impressive 18-3.
"I know I am supposed to be among the favorites, but every time I play a match I am in the state of mind of a challenger who is trying to win an additional match," said Wawrinka afterwards.
"I was really focused on my serve to be really aggressive from the first shot, to make him move, to make him work every ball.
"I just feel strong from the baseline. I feel good physically. I know that on clay courts, if I play my best tennis, I can beat those guys."