Shahar Pe’er has still not reached a WTA Tour semifinal since last August after losing 6-3, 6-1 to Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals in Marrakech, Morocco on Friday afternoon.
Pe’er, ranked No. 92 in the world, progressed to the last eight for a second straight tournament after going eight months without advancing to a quarterfinal. However, she dropped 10 of the final 11 games of the match against Muguruza (42), who completed a double in Marrakech over Israel’s top two female players after also beating Julia Glushko in the first round.
Meanwhile, misfiring Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Barcelona Open on Friday at the hands of fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro who avenged last year’s final defeat by winning their quarter- final 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
The world number one also went out in the last eight of the Monte Carlo Masters last week, losing to compatriot David Ferrer.
Top seed Nadal showed some form in the first set against Almagro and then lost his way.
Both players broke serve in the opening two games.
Almagro hit some deadly backhands but also racked up 15 unforced errors in the set.
The second set was more even and it went to a tiebreak with Almagro, who had never beaten his countryman in 10 previous attempts, coming out on top.
The decider was scrappy and contained four consecutive breaks of serve before the sixth seed clinched victory.
“I had a lot of chances in the second set when I had the match more controlled but I didn’t take them,” Nadal told reporters.
“As the match went on I was less calm but I still had openings in the third set at 3-1 and at 4-4 which I didn’t take. This is tennis and you just have to keep going.”
On Saturday, Almagro failed to reproduce the form that helped him end Nadal’s 41-match, 11-year unbeaten run at the tournament, losing his semifinal 7-5, 6-3 to unseeded Colombian Santiago Giraldo.
Fourth seed Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to reach the final of the Barcelona Open when he out-hit Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 6-4.
Nishikori will now fancy his chances of landing a first claycourt trophy in Sunday’s final against Giraldo, who has yet to win a title on the ATP Tour.
“I am very happy with the way I am playing and especially with my service and forehand,” said the Japanese who is making his comeback after being sidelined for a month with a groin injury.
“This is a tough tournament with so many top Spanish players involved but now I am in the final and it is in my hands,” he told reporters.
Nishikori’s consistency from the back of the court was too much for Gulbis to handle.
The 24-year-old was quick around the court as he broke twice to take the first set.
Gulbis offered more resistance in the second set but Nishikori broke to go 5-4 ahead before clinching victory on his own serve.
Reuters contributed to this report.