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Nadal wins

Doha: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-5, 6-4 to enter the semi-finals of the Qatar Open on Thursday.

Nadal smacked 16 sensational winners, won an impressive 11 of 15 points at the net and made just 14 unforced errors to notch up the win in an hour and 55 minutes.

In another quarter-final match, Gael Monfils of France thrashed Daniel Brands of Germany 6-2, 6-1 and Florian Mayer of Germany beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-4.

Brands had upset David Ferrer in the second round on Wednesday. The German defeated the Spaniard 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 15 minutes.

Brands was dominant on serve in the first set and managed to take eight of 12 points off Ferrer’s second serve for a one-set lead. The 26-year-old took both break points in the second in closing out victory.

Meanwhile, Nadal has reacted cautiously to suggestions that Australian Open court speeds could be the quickest in years at Melbourne Park. Chasing a 14th Grand Slam, the Spaniard is bemused by player and coach reports indicating conditions could controversially approach the “ice rink” at the 2000 Australian Open.               (Agencies)