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Nadal beats Fognini, reaches China Open semifinals

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October 4, 2013 03:45 AM EST | AP


BEIJING — BEIJING (AP) — Rafael Nadal kept alive his hopes of wresting the top ranking from Novak Djokovic by rallying for 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Fabio Fognini of Italy in the quarterfinals of the China Open on Friday.

Nadal needs to reach the final here to displace Djokovic after 100 weeks at the top of the ATP ranking list. He was down a set and a break but changed the tempo of the match with a timely service break.

The Spaniard seemed to struggle at times with a niggling left knee injury, but wore down Fognini after that hard-fought service break in the seventh game of the second set.

It was the third straight victory over Fognini for Nadal, who next plays the winner of the quarterfinal match between American John Isner and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.