Nadal Finding Form in China, Reaches Last 4

Third seed Rafael Nadal has been finding some much needed form this week in China, reaching the semifinals–his best result in a tournament since winning the title in Hamburg back in July.

Nadal Finding Form in China, Reaches Last 4

The former World Number 1 has had a shocking year by his standards, with early loses in all four Grand Slams, no clay-court title to his name, and numerous defeats to players ranked much lower than himself, seeing the King of Clay slipping down the rankings to #orld #8.

Despite his current ranking, the Spaniard has been showing some fine form in China, reaching the semifinal stages a big boost ahead of the penultimate Masters 1000 event of the year in Shanghai, starting next week.

The Spaniard, 29, won a tight 3-set match, coming from a set down to defeat American Jack Sock 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, to set up a hotly anticipated semifinal clash against flamboyant Italian Fabio Fognini on Saturday.

Third seeded Nadal is the first player through to the China Open semifinals, and took just over two hours to defeat the World No. 30. The pair have previously met earlier this year, with Nadal beating Sock in the fourth Round of Roland Garros.

The Spaniard hit 19 winners throughout the two hour contest, 10 less than his opponent Sock. But despite his first set wobble, Nadal was the more consistent of the two, and only managed to produce 25 unforced errors, a big tell tale sign in the match, with Sock committing 35.

After dropping the first set the former World number 1 started to find his range in the second set, with the biggest moment of the set coming when he saved a break point while serving for the set. With a little help from Sock’s backhand into the net Nadal managed to level the match at one set apiece.

The tables started to turn when the third seed landed a break at 3-all in the decider to go up 4-3. Nadal would not have to serve it out, he broke Sock on his first match point when the American sent a forehand long, handing the victory to Nadal.

The next challenge for Nadal is the chance to gain some revenge against his 3-time conqueror this year, Fabio Fognini, whom has gotten the best of Nadal in three of their four meetings in 2015. Fognini got the better of Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in 1 hour and 27 minutes to set up the much anticipated clash on Saturday.

Main Photo via Getty