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Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori ease into semis

Barcelona: Rafael Nadal remained on course to match Guillermo Vilas’ record of 49 clay-court titles as he reached the Barcelona Open semi-finals with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) win over Fabio Fognini yesterday.

Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori
Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori

Fognini had won three of the previous five meetings between the pair, including in Barcelona and at the US Open last year.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion took an early 2-0 advantage in the second, but Fognini fought back to reel off four straight games and move a break in front.

Meanwhile, defending champion Kei Nishikori extended his winning streak at the Barcelona Open to 13 matches as he overcame stiff first set resistence to beat Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals.

Nishikori had to save four set points when serving at 5-4 down in the first set, but held on before romping through the second set.

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