MADRID — Rafael Nadal rallied past David Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-0 Friday in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open, maintaining his bid to reach a seventh straight final since returning from a knee injury.
Top-ranked Serena Williams struggled before defeating Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 0-6, 7-5, and second-ranked Maria Sharapova joined her in the semifinals after easing by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 6-4.
In a meeting of Spain's top-ranked players, Ferrer's baseline game on the red clay almost proved too much for Nadal.
But Nadal won the tiebreaker to force a third set and won six straight games to improve his career record against Ferrer to 18-4, avoiding an early exit with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer this week.
The fourth-seeded Ferrer's ability to keep points alive with error-free long rallies gave him an early lead. He used his speed to break twice in the second set, sealing both with approach shots at the net for a 4-2 advantage.
Sharapova will play Ana Ivanovic after the Serb dispatched Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-1.
Defending champion Williams will face Sara Errani, who downed Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-3.