Nadal and Cilic into Rome final four

World number two Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open after their victories on Friday.

Nadal survived a scare from fiery local Fabio Fognini, coming back from dropping the first set to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 on the clay courts of Rome.

While it was Nadal who broke early in the opening set, Fognini fed off the boisterous home crowd, coming back from 4-1 down to win the set in stunning fashion.

But Nadal issued swift retribution, running through the second set in just 32 minutes with two breaks. With the wind out of Fognini’s sails, the King of Clay resumed his powerful baseline play in the third set, without so much as facing a breakpoint.

“I believe [in the] first set, I think it started well with both of us playing well,” said the 31-year-old afterwards.

“I think I had an opportunity on return at 4-1, but he played some great shots in that game… He played great tennis, hit a lot of winners, taking the ball very early.

“When I’m playing these kind of matches, I need to be aggressive. And that was an important change for me… It’s important to be able to change the dynamic of the match in the middle of the match.”

The result will see him take away the number one ranking from Roger Federer when they are released on Monday.

Also through to his first ever Masters 1000 semi-final on clay is fourth seed Cilic, who was nearly flawless in his 6-3, 6-3 win over Pablo Carreno-Busta.

The Croat was superb on serve, firing five aces and never facing a break point the entire match.

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