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Almagro Snaps Nadal's Barcelona Streak

Barcelona, Spain

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Nicolas Almagro broke Rafael Nadal's serve three times in the deciding set to hand the eight-time champion his first loss at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell for 11 years.

Almagro recorded his first victory over the World No. 1 in their 11th meeting, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, on Friday evening for a semi-final berth against Santiago Giraldo. The Colombian led 10th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 4-3 when the German retired with a leg injury.

It was Nadal’s first loss in Barcelona since 2003, when as a 16 year old – making his debut at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament – the Mallorcan lost to Alex Corretja in three sets in the second round.

Nadal won his 44th straight set at the clay-court event tournament by winning the first set 6-2. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the tie-break, sixth seed Almagro held his nerve to win the second set 7-6(5) in one hour and 16 minutes. Nadal had last lost a set in Barcelona in the 2008 final against David Ferrer.

Almagro recovered from a 1-3 deficit in the deciding set, winning three straight games to put Nadal on the back foot. Nadal broke back immediately in a tense eighth game, but lost his serve to love to gift Almagro a 5-4 lead.

The World No. 20 fought back from 15/40 when he served for the match to complete the biggest win of his career in two hours and 48 minutes.

Nadal remains tied No. 11 in the Open Era match wins list, with Arthur Ashe, on 683 victories.

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