3/1/13 1:28 PM | Cheryl Murray
Rafael Nadal put in another solid performance on Thursday night over Leonardo Mayer to advance to the semifinals.
All eyes may have been on the looming semifinal showdown with Nicolas Almagro, which will be Nadal's toughest test to date, but first the Spanish superstar had to get past Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, whom he defeated 6-1, 7-5.
In the first set, Nadal did much more than just get past the Argentine, he dismantled Mayer. Nadal was all aggression and accuracy, as the Argentine stood helplessly behind the baseline attempting to retrieve. The No. 2 seed secured a trio of service breaks to dish up a breadstick.
Mayer played far better in the second set. The Argentine smacked some aces and generally became more aggressive off the ground. It was by far the most entertaining set of the day, as both men swung away and hit some crowd-pleasing points.
Mayer's improved form was actually a blessing for Nadal, as it forced the Spaniard to raise his own level. Nadal had a chance to close out the match with Mayer serving to stay in it at 4-5, but he couldn't convert. On Mayer's next service game, however, Nadal put the pressure on again and finally got the win.
Nadal will move into Friday's semifinal match, his toughest to date, against countryman Nicolas Almagro, who has been in impressive form this week.
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