Although British Tennis fans may be looking ahead to the forthcoming French Open, Andy Murray's withdrawal from the Italian Open does not seem to have weakened the semi-final line-up in Rome. Roger Federer and David Ferrer have already claimed their places in the last-four, with the possibility that both Rafael Nadal and number one seed Novak Djokovic could join them later today.

Murray's wise choice

Murray withdrew before his third round match yesterday against David Goffin, providing the Belgian with a free passage into the quarter-finals.

Sadly that was as far as he was able to progress in the tournament, as he was ground down by the durable Spaniard Ferrer in three sets 6-2 4-6 6-3.

The Britain's choice to take rest now rather than attempt to play on may prove a wise choice in all respects. He would have had to beat not only the wily Ferrer, a classy player on clay courts, but then most likely Djokovic in the semis and perhaps Federer in the final. To have survived those three tough matches (assuming he had come through unscathed against Goffin) would have drained his reserves tremendously, not that he would have been thinking so far ahead.

Federer looking for the title in Rome

As it is, Federer looked mightily impressive in his 6-3 6-3 victory earlier today over number six seed Tomas Berdych.

Despite 17 Grand Slam title successes featuring prominently on his career CV, the second seed has never previously taken the title in Rome. He will have to work hard to achieve that feat this year as well one suspects, as his semi-final opponent will be either his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka or the seven-time winner of the event, Nadal.

They play each other later today.

Djokovic or Nishikori in other semi-final

There is no lack of quality in the remaining quarter-final, with Djokovic still looking for his best form after his short break prior to the tournament start. He required three sets before finally overcoming Thomaz Bellucci in the round of 16, a win that extended his streak to 19 matches unbeaten.

Kei Nishikori is his next opponent, after a comfortable straight sets success for the Japanese star over Viktor Troicki in the last-16.

Semi-finals look strong

The line-up for the semi-finals will be:

Federer v Nadal / Wawrinka

Ferrer v Djokovic / Nishikori