Defending champion to face World No 5 Spaniard in the Barcelona Open final
Barcelona: Top two seeds Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori will face each other in the final of the Barcelona Open today after comfortably easing past Philipp Kohlschreiber and Benoit Paire respectively in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates his 6-3, 6-3 victory over German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Nadal continued his perfect start to the European clay-court season having won the Monte Carlo Masters last week with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kohlschreiber.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is now just one win away from matching Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas’s record of 49 clay-court titles. However, Nadal will have to end Nishikori’s hot-streak of 14 consecutive wins in Barcelona as he swept aside French sixth seed Paire 6-3, 6-2.
Neither Nadal or Nishikori have even dropped a set in the Catalan capital this week and Nadal is expecting a stiff test if he is to win a ninth title in Barcelona.
“It will be a very difficult match against one of the best players in the world without doubt,” Kei told Spanish TV station Teledeporte. “I have to be prepared and give my best. Of my last six matches perhaps it was the one where I had least rhythm,” said Nadal.
“I missed a lot more on my backhand, but I overcame that well and (am) very happy to be in the final again.”