| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

World number two-ranked Rafael Nadal defeated Mikhail Youzhny, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Thursday to reach the semifinals for the third straight year in Doha. Nadal won 75 percent of his first serve points, and was proficient at the net, taking eight of nine points when he came forward to win for the ninth time in 13 meetings against Youzhny.

Nadal, bidding to win his first title at the event in his fifth appearance, advances to face the number four seed, France's Gael Monfils. The 16th-ranked Monfils defeated the number five seed, Viktor Troicki, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 12 min.

"I think I played my best match here today," said Nadal. "For a lot of moments during the match, I played at a very, very high level, moving very well, going inside the court. I had control of the point most of the time against a player that I normally [am not able to dictate], because his level has always put me in trouble in the past."

Monfils, seeking his fifth title, has defeated Nadal just once in their previous nine meetings. However, his lone victory against the 10-time major champion came in the Doha quarterfinals two years ago.

"It will be tough. I have to play like I did tonight," Monfils said. "I know what Rafa will give me and he knows what I will give him. It will be a strong match from the baseline."