Cilic beat Nadal in China Open semis

BEIJING: World number two Rafa Nadal''s comeback came to a shuddering halt on Saturday when he was crushed 6-1 6-3 by Croatian Marin Cilic in the semi-finals of the $6.6 million China Open.

French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the highest surving women''s seed, beat fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour to ease into her fourth China Open final, where she will play France''s Marion Bartoli or Pole Agnieszka Radwanska.

Top seed Nadal had talked this week of getting back to the kind of form he enjoyed before tendonitis of the knees and an abdominal injury disrupted his season.

With his first final since May in his sights, however, the Australian Open champion simply had no answer to the power of the eighth seeded wildcard, who will meet Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

"Cilic is good, is young and has a very good serve but if you are losing 6-1 6-3 there are a lot of things you are doing wrong," said Nadal. "Mentally I probably wasn''t there."

Cilic, in his first meeting with the former world number one, led 5-0 after just 15 minutes of the first set and allowed Nadal just two break points in the match, both in the second set.

"He played very fast at the beginning, played very well. It was very difficult for me, he was serving unbelievable, returning very fast and playing winners almost all the time," said Nadal.

"The worst thing for me is when I had a little bit of a chance to come back into the match in the second set I didn''t play well."