By Martyn Herman
PARIS, June 4 Escaping defeat for the fourth round in succession proved a step too far for Tommy Robredo as he was crushed by a machine named David Ferrer on Tuesday.
Ferrer reached his second successive French Open semi-final with a 6-2 6-1 6-1 demolition of fellow Spaniard Robredo. He has conceded only 36 games in five rounds.
"Playing with a guy like David, who is a machine, is very tough," iron man Robredo who had overturned two-set deficits in each of his last three matches, told reporters.
Fourth seed Ferrer now faces home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and there is a growing feeling that after years of dogged persistence the Valencia native can reach a major final.
With world number two Andy Murray missing, Ferrer was bumped up to fourth seed from his world ranking of five and, luckily for him, he was placed in the other side of the draw to undisputed claycourt king Rafa Nadal.
Even Tsonga's straight-sets win over Federer appears to have loaded the dice in Ferrer's favour as he has a morale-sapping 0-14 career record against Federer but does lead Tsonga.
Ferrer is not one for hyperbole, however, and, despite his hot form, defends himself against overly inflated expectations, just as he does his baseline.
"Today all players reaching this level in a tournament, to me, are at the same level. So I don't want to think about it. I want to make it as far as possible," he said.
Was it a good draw?, he was asked.
"I don't know. I have to win all my matches. It's difficult," he said.
"But I do realise it's not the first round of a small tournament. It's a semi-final. But I'm not going to start dreaming and celebrate before it's time."
"It's just one more match I have to play in my career." (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Mark Meadows and John Mehaffey)