BARCELONA OPEN BANC SABADELL 2013
Nadal, Raonic Pull Double Duty; Almagro To Face Kohlschreiber
by ATP Staff|
Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal pulled double duty on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Following up his third-round win over Benoit Paire, the Spaniard returned to court to dismiss countryman Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-0 in just 66 minutes.
The 26-year-old Nadal will meet Milos Raonic on Saturday after making light work of Ramos in their first meeting. The Mallorcan broke his fellow left-hander four times and won 71 per cent of his service points.
“I played much better this afternoon than in the morning,” Nadal assessed. “I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals another time in a very important tournament. I’m enjoying the week playing here. I love the tournament. I know everybody well. It feels like home, always.”
Nadal is looking to reach his sixth final in six tournaments this year, having excelled since his return from a seven-month injury lay-off in February. The Manacor native has won 37 successive matches in Barcelona.
Raonic advanced to the semi-finals for the second straight year after battling past Casablanca champion Tommy Robredo 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(2) in two hours and 20 minutes. Like Nadal, Raonic was forced to win two matches, having defeated qualifier Ernests Gulbis earlier in the day. The Canadian is looking for his first win against Nadal, with the 11-time major champion taking their first two meetings in 2010 and 2011 at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Tokyo.
“Tommy's been playing really well this week. I'm happy with my performance and what I managed to accomplish today,” said Raonic. “Rafa on clay is tougher than Rafa in general. But I'm Milos, so I got to go out there and do my job. I need to try and make him adjust to me more than myself to him.”
Watch Friday's HighlightsWorld No. 12 Nicolas Almagro will face Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semi-finals after reaching the weekend at this ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament without dropping a set. The Spaniard defeated Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5 in Friday’s quarter-finals, hitting nine aces and saving all of the 10 break points he faced.
"He had many break points and played really good, but I can rest now for a little bit and we'll see what comes tomorrow in the semi-finals," said Almagro. "I played really good today and that's the most important thing. I've felt great during this week and I'm going to fight to reach my first final here in Barcelona."
Almagro and Kohlschreiber have played seven times, with Almagro edging their FedEx ATP Head2Head 4-3, beating Kohlschreiber most recently on clay in last year’s Hamburg quarter-finals. The 27-year-old Almagro, twice a losing semi-finalist in Barcelona, is bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour clay-court final of the season after finishing runner-up to John Isner in Houston.