Reuters

Ljubicic books Nadal date

Ljubicic books Nadal date
By Eurosport

07/06/2006 at 16:10Updated

Ivan Ljubicic booked a date with Rafael Nadal by reaching his first major semi-final with a straight sets victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau on Wednesday. Ljubicic, the hero of Croatia's Davis Cup win last year, has never won a clay court tournament

It did not start too well for the number four seed though, as he dropped his first two service games to the Frenchman, fortunately staying in touch by breaking back twice as both players struggled with their serves.

But that was all Benneteau could take from the first set as Ljubicic went on an incredible run from 2-2 to break twice more and collect the next four games and the set to two.

It was the same story in the second, with Benneteau continuing to struggle to find his rhythm, much to the frustration of the packed Court Chatrier, the vast majority of whom were urging their countryman on.

NO WAY BACK

And it proved to be the case, as he dropped his serve twice more to lose the second set by the same scoreline as the first - 6-2.

Despite Ljubicic's dominance in the final set, Benneteau did finally manage to break past the two game barrier with a held service game to pull back to

3-5 just as it seemed likely that he would drop the third set by the same scoreline as the previous two.

But he was not to trouble the scorekeepers again, as Ljubicic took the match on the first of three match points during the next game with a forehand into the corner that his opponent could only return into the net.

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