- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2007

PARIS Rafael Nadal moved closer to a third straight French Open title today, beating 1998 champion Carlos Moya 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Spaniard, who is 19-0 in his career at the French Open, has not dropped a set in the tournament this year. He next will face Novak Djokovic, who reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by beating Igor Andreev of Russia 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Last year at Roland Garros, Djokovic retired while trailing Nadal in the quarterfinals.

“He’s the best player in the world on this surface,” the sixth-seeded Djokovic said. “He plays with a lot of motivation and confidence. Physically he’s very ready.”

Nadal won the final eight games of the match. Moya saved one match point with a backhand volley but double-faulted to set up Nadal’s second match point, which Nadal won with a forehand that Moya could barely get his racket on.

Djokovic also had an easy time against Andreev.

“I was aggressive from the start, and that was the key,” Djokovic said. “The result is not showing the right picture about the match — it was not easy to play Andreev. He’s the kind of player who makes you work for the points; he produces a lot of spin.”

Nadal is 3-1 against Djokovic, but the Serb beat Nadal in the quarterfinals at Key Biscayne, Fla., in March.

“It’s not the same match. It’s not the same player,” Djokovic said. “On clay, you have to do more to try and earn the point against him.”

In the men’s other semifinal on Friday, top-ranked Roger Federer will try to improve to 9-0 against fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko. Federer lost a set for the first time in 12 Grand Slam matches Tuesday but regrouped to beat ninth-seeded Tommy Robredo 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2. Davydenko eliminated No. 19 Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.