Nadal finds top gear to beat Youzhny
Rafael Nadal joined Roger Federer in the last four of the Qatar Open when battling past Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets.
The Spaniard is carrying a shoulder injury that is set to be rested for a month after the Australian Open, but he showed no signs of discomfort during a 6-4 6-4 win.
Youzhny competed well from the back of the court throughout, but the first set went Nadal's way in 50 minutes - with his serve in top form.
Youzhny crafted his first break point in the second game of the second set, but a brilliant backhand from Nadal staved off the threat.
Nadal looked set to swamp Youzhny when claiming back-to-back breaks of serve. The Russian dug in and broke back and had four chances to break for 5-5, but Nadal withstood the barrage and held firm to progress - producing some of his best play for a number of months in the process.
"I think I played really well," Nadal said. "The end of the match was a bit nervy, but for the rest of the match I am happy and feeling better every day.
"I was moving fast, trying to go to the net, and that is what I have to do to compete against the top players."