Tennis: Rafael Nadal through to Rio Open semis as injured Dolgopolov concedes walkover

Rafael Nadal in action against Nicolas Almagro during Rio Open 2016 on Feb 18, 2016.
Rafael Nadal in action against Nicolas Almagro during Rio Open 2016 on Feb 18, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal reached the Rio Open semi-finals without even hitting a tennis ball on Friday as Aleksandr Dolgopolov withdrew injured from their last-eight tie.

Nadal is playing at the low-key clay-court event in a bid to find his form ahead of a tilt at an unprecedented 10th French Open crown in June.

The 29-year-old has dropped to No. 5 in the world after an injury-hit 2015 and suffered a shock semi-final defeat by Austria's Dominic Thiem in last week's Buenos Aires semi-finals, where he was the defending champion.

The Rio Open's official Twitter account revealed the news of Dolgopolov's injury.

"Dolgopolov was forced to withdraw due to injury. Dolgopolov injury: right shoulder," it said.

Spaniard Nadal will play Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas in the last four on Saturday. Ceuvas beat Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-4, 7-6(7-4).