The men's semifinals are set. A pair of surly Spaniards have dashed the hopes of the french in two one-sided quarterfinal matches on Rod Laver. One predictably, the other, quite a surprise.
The Surprise: 14th seeded Fernando Verdasco knocked off another top 5 seed with another impressive effort, a 4-set drubbing of last years runner up, Jo-Willy Tsonga. After knocking off Andy Murray in 5, Verdasco showed no signs of fatigue, and very few lapses of concentration. The Spaniard, who had never ventured farther than the second round in Melbourne is using a ramped up serve, pinpoint groundstrokes, and improved conditioning to smash through the field with relative ease.
Tsonga really shouldn't hang his head here, he was dealing with some back problems, and he just happened to run into Verdasco at the wrong time.
Next up for Fernando is his countrymate, Rafael aka short sleeve Nadal.
H0-hum: Rafael Nadal seems to enjoy his number one ranking so much that he won't let any of his competitors even come close to beating him. He seems to be as selfish with his # 1 ranking as he is with that French Open Title that he refuses to let go. This time his victim was #6 seeded Gilles Simon, who, in spite of the loss, has logged his best performance in a major thus far in his career.
But the three set victory wasn't as easy as it often is for Nadal. It certainly was a different match than the licking he put on Simon last year down under. He did face a set point from Simon in the second set, and the match was competitive throughout. Rafa's lack of errors and his ability to break Simon's serve (7 for 12 on break points) put the distance between them in the end.