Top seed Rafael Nadal set up an all-Spanish final against David Ferrer at the Barcelona Open after blasting his way past compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-0 6-4 on Saturday.
The world No. 2, fresh from winning an eighth-straight Monte Carlo title last week, is chasing a seventh Conde De Godo trophy and encountered minimal resistance from the 2010 champion in his semi-final.
Third-seed Ferrer will be making his fourth final appearance after surviving two tie breaks to triumph 7-6, 7-6 against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic earlier in the day.
“David is always very tough to play,” Nadal told Spanish -television, after his 33rd straight win at the tournament. “He’s one of those rivals you prefer to avoid, but I am very pleased for him. He’s a real fighter, a great person, and a player who deserves a lot of admiration.”
“I wish him all the best, not tomorrow, but for the rest of the season,” he said with a smile.
Nadal made a whirlwind start against Verdasco, whom he had beaten in all 12 previous meetings, breaking his opponent’s serve to love in the first game.
Verdasco’s strident yellow shirt stood out in the gloom, but it was his errors under pressure that caught the eye, although he rallied briefly at the start of the second set.
He broke Nadal’s serve, but soon after, double-faulted on his own to lose the initiative, and made a string of mistakes to gift Nadal victory as he frittered away two breaks on his opponent’s serve at the end.
“I started the first set very strongly without making any errors,” the French Open champion said. “I was very aggressive and obviously it helped me to start with a break to zero, which gave me a lot of confidence.”
“It allowed me to take the lead in the scoring, and he committed some mistakes, which helped me. It’s logical that the second set was much more evenly balanced and it could have gone either way,” he said.
World No. 6 Ferrer was put through a grueling 2 hours, 5 minutes by Raonic, who knocked out Andy Murray in the quarter-finals on Friday.
“I feel good. It was a very difficult match, but I played very solid and consistent,” Ferrer told the ATP Web site. “It’s my fourth final here, which is very difficult to do. Raonic has one of the best serves on tour, he’s improving a lot and he’s still very young. I was very focused during the tie breaks and played better than him in those moments — that was the key to the match.”
Ferrer is chasing an ATP-best fourth title this season, following victories in Auckland, Buenos Aires and Acapulco.
NASTASE TIRIAC TROPHY
Top-seeded Gilles Simon beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday to advance to the final of the Nastase Tiriac Trophy.
Simon broke five times to win against the unseeded Bachinger.
The Frenchman, who won the tournament in 2007 and 2008, planned to attempt to clinch a hat-trick of titles when he was to meet Italy’s Fabio Fognini yesterday.
Fognini reached his first ever ATP World Tour final with a win over 450th-ranked Attila Balazs of Hungary, 6-3, 6-1.
The Italian broke four times and saved three break points to defeat the Hungarian qualifier in about 70 minutes.