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Nadal cruises into last four

Top seed Rafael Nadal dispatched fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the VTR Open in Chile.

Nadal, playing just his second competitive singles match since his return from a long injury and illness lay-off, broke his seventh-seeded opponent three times to wrap up a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win in Vina del Mar.

The 11-time grand slam champion is looking to mark his comeback in style and should he win his next two matches, he will lift his 37th clay-court trophy.

"Today I had more confidence than the other days," Nadal told the ATP Tour's official website. "That is positive. It gives me confidence, and reasons to believe that I'm on the right way.

"I'm happy to win in singles against a tough opponent like Dani and to reach the semi-finals after seven months.

"In this tournament I had a good feeling. The crowd gave me their support all the time."

The 26-year-old will next play third seed Jeremy Chardy after the Frenchman breezed past Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-2 6-3.

Chardy was dominant throughout, winning 89 per cent of points on his first serve, and sealed victory in just over an hour.

Horacio Zeballos beat a seeded opponent for the second day in a row, edging out Spanish fifth seed Albert Ramos in a thriller.

The unheralded Argentine, who shocked fourth seed Pablo Andujar yesterday, continues to upset the odds and triumphed today 6-1 5-7 7-6 (8/6) to set up a clash with compatriot Carlos Berlocq.

The eighth seed progressed after quarter-final opponent Guillaume Rufin withdrew before the match with an abdominal strain.