ROME — Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal overcame a poor first set and a partisan crowd to beat Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and reach the Italian Open semifinals on Friday.
The crowd at the Foro Italico was decidedly behind Fognini, Italy’s top player, and Nadal was under pressure when Fognini won five straight games to cancel out a 4-1 deficit and win the opening set.
But Fognini couldn’t keep up with Nadal’s consistency and heavy topspin on the red clay court and eventually was physically worn down.
Fognini had tape applied under his left knee while trailing 3-2 in the third set due to an apparent physical problem.
For a spot in the final, Nadal will play four-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic or Kei Nishikori.
In the women’s quarterfinals, defending champion Elina Svitolina defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 for her sixth straight victory over the former No. 1 player.
Svitolina will next face Caroline Wozniacki or Anett Kontaveit.
HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer defeated Matthew Ebden 7-6 (2), 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the grass-court Gerry Weber Open on Friday.
Federer was made to work hard by Ebden, who saved five of the eight break points he faced and was leading 5-3 in the second set.
Federer, who saved two match points against Benoit Paire in the second round the day before, recovered to go 6-5 up and then broke Ebden to take his first match point for a meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla.
Kudla earlier defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5 to book his semifinal place.
Federer, who won his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart on Sunday, is just three match wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 19 including the Stuttgart title and last year’s titles in Halle and Wimbledon. He is bidding for a record-extending 10th trophy in Halle.
HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer survived two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.
Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.
But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.
Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.
The Croat next faces either Florian Mayer or Andreas Seppi.