Barcelona:Third-seeded Nikolay Davydenko rallied for a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2 victory over Radek Stepanek on Friday to reach the Barcelona Open semi-finals.
Davydenko recovered from early mistakes in the first set, but wasted three set points as Stepanek used crafty net play to frustrate his opponent and force the tiebreaker. The Czech player hit one of his seven aces to secure the first set.
But Stepanek then crumbled behind a slew of unforced errors, and Davydenko broke to take a 3-2 lead and then used another break to clinch the second set.
Davydenko used strong returns to break twice more in the third to set up a meeting with the top-ranked Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, who has a 3-2 record against Davydenko and 2-0 on clay, reached the semifinals without having to play Friday, after his quarterfinal opponent David Nalbandian withdrew on Thursday with a right hip injury.
The Spaniard is vying to follow up his fifth straight Monte Carlo Masters trophy with a fifth straight title at Barcelona.
Later Friday, second-seeded Fernando Verdasco played Fernando Gonzalez of Chile and David Ferrer met Tommy Robredo in an all-Spanish matchup.