Swiss tennis star Roger Federer will meet Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open for the third straight year after both men won their quarterfinal matches in straight sets.
Top seed Nadal scored a straightforward 6-2, 6-2 victory over Michael Llodra on Friday, while third-seeded Federer was a 7-6 (2), 6-4 winner over fifth-seeded Robin Söderling.
Nadal stretched his latest clay-court winning streak to 36 matches as he goes for his second straight Madrid title in three seasons after splitting the last two finals against 2009 champion Federer.
Federer, meanwhile, was pushed by his Swedish opponent who saved three first set points before finally succumbing in a tiebreak.
Söderling lost some of his momentum after that and netted on match point to confirm the attractive semifinal encounter.
"Conditions were tough today. I didn't know we could get such wind in a closed stadium. But I thought I played a great match from start to finish," said Federer, who is 8-15 overall against Nadal but 2-10 on clay.
"I'm excited, I'm playing Rafa here in the next round. I've beaten him here in the past, but it will obviously depend a lot on the day – but he's the favourite on the clay."
swissinfo.ch and agencies