Federer, Nadal move closer to Montreal showdown
World number one Roger Federer and number two Rafael Nadal took a step closer to another title showdown as they reached the semifinals of the Montreal Masters on Friday.
Wimbledon champion Federer continued his seemingly inexorable march through the draw as he swept aside Australian Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4.
But for the second night in a row, Nadal had to come from behind, beating unseeded Canadian Frank Dancevic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Federer will play Czech Radek Stepanek, who upset fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 7-5, while Nadal will meet third seed Novak Djokovic, who ousted number five Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-4.
Holder Federer was close to his fluent best, hitting 13 aces on his way to victory over former world number one Hewitt.
A break of serve in the sixth game earned Swiss Federer the first set before Hewitt gave himself a glimmer of hope when he recovered an early break in the second to level at 2-2.
But Federer pressured the Australian into a forehand error in the seventh game to move ahead again and held on for victory.
"Maybe the score looked like I was pretty much in control," Federer told reporters. "But if you look at the first set, it took 45 minutes."
"We had our chances but it went my way in the end because I served well in the important moments. I was just more consistent from the baseline and my forehand was great today."
Hewitt said Federer had just been too good.
"The way he played today, I can't see him losing the tournament," Hewitt said.
Nadal had to cope with an inspired opponent in Dancevic, the world number 91, and a buoyant home crowd before reaching the last four.
Dancevic smashed a succession of winners as he stunned Nadal in the first set.
But after the Canadian missed a series of chances for an early break in the second set, the match slowly swung in Nadal's favor and in the end, he was a comfortable winner.
"He played unbelievable, aggressive tennis," Nadal said.
"I knew that today was a very difficult match because he was playing such unbelievable tennis and he had such big support."
World number 60 Stepanek broke Davydenko in the fifth game and held the advantage to take the opening set.
The Czech broke again in the fifth game of the second but faltered when serving for the match at 5-4, allowing Davydenko to level.
The respite was only brief for the Russian as he was broken in the next game and Stepanek served out for victory, finishing the match with his ninth ace.