Toronto: World number one Rafa Nadal survived a quarter-final scare before battling to a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday to keep his bid for a third Toronto Masters title on track.
Nadal will now face holder Andy Murray for a place in the final after the Briton earlier advanced with a clinical 6-2 6-2 win over Argentine David Nalbandian.
Playing in his first event since winning Wimbledon last month, Nadal has at times appeared to still be in holiday mode, and he was again slow out of the blocks against world number 37 Kohlschreiber.
Nadal could not have expected such a punishing workout from the German, who has just one win over a top 10 ranked opponent this season and had never beaten the muscular Mallorcan in six previous meetings.
But Kohlschreiber soon had Nadal on the back foot breaking the Spaniard at the first opportunity and holding on to take the opening set -- the first surrendered by his opponent this week.
In the second, Nadal seized the initiative with the early break to go up 2-0 on his way to levelling the match.
The third set was a tighter affair until Nadal recorded the decisive break to go 4-3 ahead, the Spaniard’s play finally looking as bright as his neon pink shirt.