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Nadal beats Soderling to reach French Open semis

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June 1, 2011 12:43 PM EST | AP


PARIS — Five-time champion Rafael Nadal reached the French Open semifinals and improved his career record there to 43-1 by eliminating the only man to beat him, fifth-seeded Robin Soderling, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (3) Wednesday.

A sixth Roland Garros title would allow Nadal to tie Bjorn Borg for the most in history.

Nadal and Soderling have played each other in Paris three years in a row. In 2009, Soderling defeated Nadal in the fourth round en route to a runner-up finish. In 2010, Nadal beat Soderling in the final.

On Wednesday, Nadal broke Soderling the first two times the Swede served, and six total.

The top-seeded Nadal plays No. 4 Andy Murray or unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela in Friday's semifinals, and No. 2 Novak Djokovic faces No. 3 Roger Federer.