Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during the men's singles quarter-final match against John Isner of the United States of America at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on Oct. 6, 2017. Rafael Nadal won 2-0 and advanced to the semifinal. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)
BEIJING, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- World No.1 Rafael Nadal survived 22 aces from John Isner of the United States in the quarterfinals of the China Open here on Friday, overcoming the big server 6-4, 7-6(0) to advance into the semifinals for the fourth time in Beijing.
"I think I played a solid match. I played very well, changing good directions, playing very focus all the time," said the 2005 China Open winner, "It is an important victory for me, against a player that arrived here so well, winning two great matches."
Nadal broke Isner's serve in the 9th game of the first set, which was the only break for the two players during the 104-minute fight.
The sixth seed could have taken a lead in the second set when he held two break points in the 2nd game, but squandering both of them. The back and forth continued and the second set was pulled into a tiebreak, in which the top-ranked Spaniard stormed seven points in a row to claim the victory.
"In general terms, I think I played with not many mistakes. I don't remember a lot of mistakes. I don't know how many I had. I went to the net very often. I think I did the things that I want to do, and I did it well," Nadal said.
Awaiting for Nadal in the semifinals is the third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who stopped Nadal in the quarterfinals here last year. Dimitrov knocked out another Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2 on Friday.
"Grigor is a complete player. He has all the shots, big talent. He's serving big always," said the top seed, "Tomorrow will be a tough one, for sure. He's playing well. He had a good victory today. Let's see. I'm going to try to play my best. I hope to be ready for it."
Nadal, who is chasing for his fourth time year-end world No.1, had won 5 titles this year, including the unprecedented 10th in the French Open and the third in the US Open.