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Nadal to face Roddick in Miami semis; Henin set for Clijsters showdown

Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has reached the semifinals in his last two events in the United States.
Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has reached the semifinals in his last two events in the United States.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal faces Andy Roddick in semifinals of Sony Ericsson Open in Miami
  • Spanish fourth seed continues comeback with 6-3 6-2 win over No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  • American sixth seed Roddick crushes Nadal's compatriot Nicolas Almagro
  • Kim Clijsters to take on fellow Belgian Justine Henin in last four of women's event

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal must get past big-serving home hope Andy Roddick to have a shot at his first title in 11 months at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

The Spanish fourth seed crushed No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3 6-2 on Wednesday night to move into the semifinals of the ATP Tour event, which has already seen top-ranked Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray fall by the wayside.

Sixth seed Roddick is hoping to repeat his 2004 victory, with the American in similarly dominant form as he dispatched Nadal's 33rd-seeded compatriot Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-3.

Nadal, twice a losing finalist in the southern American city, also reached the last four at Indian Wells two weeks ago on his return from a knee injury.

When you play against Andy, it always is a big challenge. He's a very good competitor. He's a winner
--Rafael Nadal
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"When you play against Andy, it always is a big challenge," he told the ATP Tour Web site.

"His serve, and he's a very good competitor. He's a winner. Gonna be a very tough match, no? I think I have to play my best tennis to try to win."

Roddick, who has not dropped a set so far, will take on a player who will return to No. 3 in the world rankings next week following defending champion Murray's second-round exit.

He reached the final at Indian Wells before losing to Nadal's conqueror Ivan Ljubicic, and was also a semifinalist in Miami in 2008.

"Sometimes when you're not playing well, everything feels a little bit forced. When you play a lot of matches and play a high level, it feels like everything kind of slows down a little bit," he told the ATP site.

"Muscle memory takes over a little bit more, and things kind of just happen. So I think I'm at that stage right now.

"Unfortunately with tennis you have to start every day and it's a new one. You're playing well, but you still have to go out and do it every day."

In Thursday's quarterfinals, fifth seed Robin Soderling of Sweden takes on No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Czech 16th seed Tomas Berdych, who knocked out Federer on Wednesday, will play Spanish No. 10 Fernando Verdasco.

Meanwhile, Justine Henin will take on fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters in a battle of the former number ones in the semifinals of the women's event in Miami.

Henin came from behind to oust second seed Caroline Wozniacki, beating the young Dane 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4.

"I was in a lot of trouble in the first set. It wasn't easy for me to find a good balance of aggression and patience," Henin, who was given a wildcard entry, told the WTA Tour Web site.

"It was the kind of match I really needed. Even though I was a bit tired in the end, I was able to win. In terms of my fighting spirit, I proved I can still do it. That was important for me."

Clijsters, the 14th seed, defeated No. 9 Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3 7-5 as she broke to love in the 11th game and then served out for victory.

"Kim and I grew up together, arrived on the tour at the same time, played well at the same time, retired at the same time, and now we came back at the same time. It's amazing," Clijsters said.

"We have never stopped respecting each other. Never, ever, ever. Even if people talk about it, we never had any problems, Kim and I."

Henin has a 12-11 advantage in matches between the two, and the winner of Thursday night's match will take on either American third seed Venus Williams or France's No. 13 Marion Bartoli.