|Rafael Nadal plays in the quarterfinals of the China Open against Fabio Fognini. (Li Zhenyu/People's Daily Online)|
BEIJING, Oct. 5 (People's Daily Online) -- Rafael Nadal kept alive his hopes of wresting the top ranking from Novak Djokovic by rallying for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Fabio Fognini in the quarterfinals of the China Open here on Friday.
The current world No. 2, who needs to reach the final here to have a chance of displacing Djokovic, was down a set and a break but changed the tempo of the match with a timely service break.
Nadal seemed to struggle at times with a niggling left knee injury, but wore down Fognini after that hard-fought service break in the seventh game of the second set.
The Spaniard ran with the momentum, benefitting from a Fognini double fault to take a 4-1 lead. He broke Fognini again to close out victory in two hours and 15 minutes.
It was the third straight victory over Fognini for Nadal, who next plays fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Berdych beat John Isner 7-5, 6-2.
If Nadal wins his semifinal against Berdych, he will return to the world No. 1 spot for the first time since July 2011. Novak Djokovic must still clinch this China Open trophy to stay at the top should Nadal falters in the semifinals.
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