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Nadal, Almagro Storm Into Barcelona Final

Barcelona, Spain

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal improved to 3-0 against Milos Raonic.

Second seed Rafael Nadal will look to win his eighth trophy in nine years at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Sunday when he battles fourth-seeded compatriot Nicolas Almagro. Both have moved through to the final without a loss of a set.

Rain delayed the start of play for nearly four hours, and after falling behind an early break, Nadal stepped on the gas to dismiss fifth seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-0. In the second set, the seven-time champion broke Raonic three times, winning 63 per cent of his return points. Nadal improved to 3-0 against the Canadian in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting on clay. 

“I think it was my best match of the whole week,” stated Nadal. “He played a fantastic second game on the return. I won the third game, which was very important for the match, because if you are 3-love down against a big server like Milos, you’re in big trouble.

“[Almagro] is playing great and having a fantastic week. Tomorrow will be the most difficult match of the week. Hopefully I can play my best match and take my chances.”

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Nadal has appeared in the final of every tournament he’s played this season, following a runner-up effort in Vina del Mar (l. to Zeballos), triumphs in Sao Paulo (d. Nalbandian), Acapulco (d. Ferrer) and Indian Wells (d. del Potro) and a title match appearance in Monte-Carlo last week (l. to Djokovic). The Mallorcan has not lost in Barcelona since 2003, running up 38 consecutive wins at the event. He has never lost to Almagro in their nine previous clashes.

Almagro will contest his 20th ATP World Tour final (all clay) after cruising past No. 8 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-1. Appearing in his third semi-final at the ATP World Tour 500 event, Almagro did not face a break point and broke the German twice in each set to wrap up the victory in just 51 minutes. 

“I think I played one of my best matches here in Spain,” said Almagro. “I felt really good all the time during the match. I'm really happy to be in my first final in Barcelona… Every match I play against [Rafa] is fantastic. I'm ready for everything, so we will see what I can do on court.”

The Spaniard improved to 5-3 against Kohlschreiber to move through to the final for the first time in 10 appearances.

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