Barcelona, Apr 24 (EFE).- World No. 3 Rafael Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta 6-3, 6-2 Saturday to reach the final of the Barcelona Open for the 12th time.
Standing between the Spanish great and his 12th title in the event is Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 2021 Monte-Carlo Masters champion, who dispatched Jannik Sinner of Italy in the other semifinal.
The 34-year-old started well on the Rafa Nadal clay court at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, breaking Carreño twice to take a 5-1 lead before conceding a break to allow the younger man back into the contest.
Carreño, ranked 13th in the world, narrowed the deficit to 3-5 and created three break chances in the ninth game, but Nadal saved all three and pounced on a mistake by his opponent to finish the set 6-3.
Nadal powered to a 4-0 edge in the second set. Again, Carreño responded, but with less effect, and the “king of clay” prevailed 6-2.
“I am very happy to be back in a final here at an historic event, a home event (and) an important one for me,” Nadal said afterward. “I think I did things well today, better than the other days. I have been improving every single day a little bit more.”
Nadal bested Tsitsipas, currently fifth in the world, in the Barcelona final in 2018, but the 22-year-old Greek won the last time the pair met, in the quarterfinals of this year’s Australian Open.
Stefanos “is playing probably better than ever,” Nadal said, looking ahead to Sunday’s clash. “Not one set lost in Monte-Carlo and here, so it will be the toughest opponent possible. I hope to be ready.”
The Barcelona Open is a tune-up event for tennis’ most prestigious clay-court tournament, the French Open, where Nadal will have the chance to capture a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title.
Roland Garros was delayed by a week due to coronavirus concerns and will be held from May 30 to June 13. EFE