Nadal to play Ferrer in semi-final

David Ferrer will face Rafael Nadal in the French Open semi-finals.

Rafael Nadal. Picture: AFP

PARIS - There is a reason why Rafa Nadal is called "The Boss" by Nicolas Almagro, and on Wednesday the ruthless clay court king beat his fellow-Spaniard in pursuit of a record seventh Roland Garros title.

Nadal defeated Almagro 7-6 6-2 6-3 to put another Spaniard, David Ferrer, in his firing line.

Ferrer made it through to his first Paris semi at the ripe old age of 30 after bouncing out British world number four Andy Murray 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-2 on a soggy day in the French capital.

So how did the sixth seed rate his chances of reaching Sunday's final?

"Winning a match against Rafa is almost impossible," he summed up bluntly.

At least Ferrer struck a blow for the 30-somethings. By joining Roger Federer, who turns 31 in August, in the last four, it is the first time since 1969 that two 30-year-olds have made it to the same stage at Roland Garros.

At 25, age was on Murray's side but unfortunately he failed to make that count.

The Briton, a semi-finalist last year, had never beaten a Spaniard on red dirt before Wednesday and the prospect of breaking that losing run against Ferrer looked bleak from the outset.

Ferrer had sliced through the draw with a perfect 12-0 sets record and, although he dropped his first set on day 11 of the championships, Murray never looked like he had the weapons to bulldoze past an opponent nicknamed "The Wall".

Along with Ferrer, Nadal and Almagro had also won 12 consecutive sets coming into the quarter-finals but by the end of the day only one man still held an intact record.