Ferrer is currently ahead of the 11-time Grand Slam champion in the world rankings due to Nadal’s seven-month layoff in the second-half of last season and despite a poor record against his compatriot he got off to the perfect start as he broke in the 10th game of the first set to take it 6-4.
In a topsy turvy second set it was Nadal who took the early advantage, before Ferrer came roaring back and looked well-placed for a first win against Nadal on clay for nine years when he moved 4-2 in front.
However, Nadal broke straight back and then went onto edge the set on a tie-break 7/3. And once he had restored parity, the World No 5 was unstoppable as Ferrer’s belief disappeared and Nadal charged through the third set 6-0 to set up a semi-final meeting with either Kei Nishikori, the conqueror of Roger Federer, or Pablo Andujar.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova stayed on course for a battle for the World No 1 slot in the Madrid Open final as they progressed into the last four with wins over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Kaia Kanepi respectively yesterday.
However, current No 1 Williams was given a huge scare by 30-year-old wildcard Garrigues before battling through 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.
The American hadn’t dropped a set all tournament until the Spaniard romped through the second set and Williams admitted she had to fight to up her intensity levels heading into the decider. Meanwhile, Sharapova beat World No 51 Kanepi 6-2, 6-4.