Hot Gonzalez stays calm after rout of Nadal

Updated: 2007-01-25 08:41
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Chile's Fernando Gonzalez was trying to keep his feet on the ground following his stunning 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory over second seed Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The 10th seed, who beat Australian Lleyton Hewitt and fifth seed James Blake in the previous two rounds, blew Nadal away with a barrage of powerful serves and dynamic forehands to reach his first grand slam semi-final.

"I never played three matches in a row at this level," Gonzalez told a news conference. "I've been playing really good, serving really well and hitting my forehand all around the court."

Gonzalez, 26, said he was not surprised by his form.

"There is no secret," he said. "I've been working at trying to stay calm at important moments. I've been really improving in the last month, working hard with my coach."

The Chilean acknowledged he still relied on his forehand as his main attacking stroke.

"I won a lot of points with my forehand and that was the key to the match. My forehand is my weapon but I've also been working a lot on my slice, trying to keep the ball really low so I can get into the net."

Gonzalez said he was aware Nadal was struggling with injuries but did not feel they affected the outcome of the match.

"He was moving well, he's a great fighter and runs a lot," Gonzalez said after improving his career record against the world number two to three wins in four matches.

Gonzalez will play German 12th seed Tommy Haas in the semi-finals.

"Tommy is a great player and we know that it's going to be a tough match," he said. "We have very similar games, we are baseline players but we try to go in."

The Chilean understood the importance of reaching the last four of a grand slam after losing three times at the quarter-final stage, once each at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the French Open.

"It's really important to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam," he said. "I'm playing the best tennis of my career. I hope to continue. I feel really really good on the court."

Gonzalez became the second Chilean to reach the Australian Open semi-finals in the professional era after Marcelo Rios in 1998. Gonzalez won the Olympic doubles gold medal in Athens in 2004 with compatriot Nicolas Massu.