Tennis: No extra pressure for No 1 crunch match - Nadal

Tennis: No extra pressure for No 1 crunch match - Nadal

BEIJING - World number two Rafael Nadal said Friday he felt no extra pressure heading into a semi-final at the China Open which could see him return to the top of the men's rankings.

The number two seed in Beijing staged an extraordinary comeback against Fabio Fognini in his quarter-final match to keep alive his hopes of unseating Novak Djokovic at the top spot.

He will now have to beat either American John Isner or Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych in Saturday's match to return to the top for the first time since July 2011.

"It's something that doesn't create me more pressure," Nadal said.

"It's something that already happened in the past. If that happens again, it will be good, it will be special for me, but we'll see.

"I am going to have a very tough opponent in front. In the end, it's another match. True, it's a little bit more special for that circumstances, but nothing else."

Nadal looked to be heading for a crushing defeat in his quarter-final after Fognini claimed the first set and powered to a 4-1 lead in the second.

But Nadal broke the Italian's serve in the seventh game, before winning the next three to take the second set 6-4.

Fognini, who is ranked 19th in the world, won the opener of the third set, but Nadal sealed his passage through to the semi-finals with victory in the remaining games.

Current China Open champion Djokovic has spent 101 weeks at number one, but can only remain top in the rankings if he reclaims his title and if Nadal fails to reach the final.

Nadal has not lost a hardcourt match all season, after he missed the opening few weeks of 2013 with a stomach virus.

He was also sidelined for the second half of last year with a knee injury.

The China Open reaches its climax on Sunday.

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