Hamburg SF previews and picks: Nadal vs. Seppi, Fognini vs. Pouille

The Grandstand

Seppi 1Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini are one round away from what would be a blockbuster title match in Hamburg. Standing in their respective ways on Saturday are Andreas Seppi and Lucas Pouille.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. (4) Andreas Seppi

Nadal and Seppi will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers when they collide in the semifinals of the bet-at-home Open on Saturday afternoon. The head-to-head series stands at 5-1 in favor of Nadal, whose only loss to Seppi came back in 2008 on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam. He has since won six consecutive sets, including two in a 6-1, 6-3 beatdown last spring on the Monte-Carlo clay.

Although Nadal will have to do far more to officially emerge from a season-long slump, his week in Hamburg has been relatively encouraging up to this point. The 10th-ranked Spaniard has defeated Fernando Verdasco, Jiri Vesely, and Pablo Cuevas, dropping just…

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