Miami (Florida), Mar 29 (IANS): World No.2 Rafael Nadal had to battle hard to overcome Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and set up a semi-final clash with Briton Andy Murray at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament.
The Spaniard was made to toil hard Wednesday in the quarters as he won 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and 50 minutes.
Nadal looked to have wrapped the match when he led 5-4 i the second set, serving for the match. But Tsonga broke Nadal's serve, winning three games in a row to take the match into the third set.
The third set too was a close affair as both players held their serve until the ninth game. Tied at 4-4, Nadal broke the Frenchman, leaving him in the same situation as the second set, serving for the match at 5-4.
"I didn't play very well tonight," Nadal was quoted as saying by the ATP website.
"I think I started the match playing really well, but later when I had the break in the second [set], I started to play more defensive. My feeling was Jo was having much more mistakes than usual, so the match didn't have the right rhythm."
Nadal, who is a three-time finalist here, said that he was excited to play Murray and felt that he needed to recover quickly.
"Playing Andy is a pleasure for me, and exciting playing against a player like him [who] pushes you [to] the limit on everything," Nadal said. "The negative thing is I have to recover well."
The Spaniard leads 13-5 in a head to head between the two players, but Murray beat Nadal in the latest encounter at Tokyo.