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Nishikori, Giraldo Compete For Barcelona Crown

Barcelona, Spain

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• FINALS DAY: The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell will crown a new champion as first-time finalists Kei Nishikori and Santiago Giraldo go head to head for the sixth time in today’s final. Nishikori, who is the first player from his country to contest the final here, takes on Giraldo for the sixth time, with the Japanese No. 1 leading their FedEx H2H series 4-1. Nishikori is chasing the fifth ATP title of his career and his first on clay, while Giraldo is seeking a maiden crown. The Colombian is also the first from his country to reach the final here. This is the first time since 1996 that there has been no Spanish player in the final here (Austrian Thomas Muster d. Chilean Marcelo Rios).

• WHAT’S AT STAKE:

Winner: $422,100 and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points
Finalist: $192,450 and 300 Emirates ATP Ranking points

• RANKING WATCH: Nishikori is projected to jump from No. 17 to around No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with his final appearance. If he wins the title, he will move as high as No. 12, one place off his career high. Giraldo is set to climb 20 places to around No. 45. A win, however, would see him rise to a career high of around No. 35. His previous high was No. 39 on July 16, 2012.

• KEI’S BID FOR FIVE: Nishikori’s on the hunt for a fifth title today. The 24-year-old is contesting his seventh final (4-2): 2008 Delray Beach (d. Blake), 2011 Houston (l. to Sweeting) and Basel (l. to Federer), 2012 Tokyo (d. Raonic), 2013 Memphis (d. F Lopez) & 2014 Memphis (d. Karlovic).

BREAKING NEW GROUND: Giraldo is looking to become the second player from his country to capture a title, after Mauricio Hadad became the first (Bermuda 1995). This is Giraldo’s second final outing and first since falling to Tommy Robredo in the final in Santiago in 2011. If the 26-year-old wins today, he will become the second first-time titlist on Tour this season (after Federico Delbonis in Sao Paulo). Last year, players trying to win their first title posted an 8-8 record in finals.

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