July 06 | 06

Rafa Nadal has reached the semi finals of Wimbledon with a straight sets victory over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

In a very competitive match, Rafa needed just one break in each set to clinch his spot in the semi finals at The Championships, the first time he has been there in his career.
The match was carried over from Wednesday but it was a packed number one court who watched the last of the mens' quarter finals. In front of the cheering crowd, Rafa got his first break of serve at 2-1 in the first set with a forehand winner, and it was all he needed as he went on to clinch the first set 6-3.

The weather forecast for Thursday at Wimbledon had been bad, but the quarter final was played under sunshine as there was a break in the weather and Rafa took advantage of this to quickly stamp his authority further on the match.

Despite spirited resistance from Nieminen, Rafa was able to get a crucial break at 4-4 in the second set as the Fin put in a bad game. The Spaniard closed out the set with impressive serving, an aspect of his game which has largely helped him make his way through the draw.

Both men approached the net more in set three but it was Rafa who enjoyed more success. Not only was the Majorcan accomplished in his own volleying, but he found the spots in passing Nieminen. At 3-3, good play from Rafa saw him get the break of serve and it was a fitting forehand volley on match point which put him in the semi finals where he will face Marcos Baghdatis.

Baghdatis has been the talk of the 2006 Wimbledon. Before this year, the smiling Cypriot who reached the Australian Open final had never had much success on grass. But he has carved his way through the bottom half of the draw with wins over Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt along the way. He and Rafa have played once before, earlier this year in Indian Wells where Rafa was a comfortable straight sets winner.

The semi final between Rafa and Baghdatis will be played on Friday on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
Good Luck, Rafa!

Written by, Kate Flory