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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Tennis

Nadal beats Raonic to reach Barcelona Open final
AP
Barcelona, April 28, 2013
First Published: 00:02 IST(28/4/2013)
Last Updated: 00:04 IST(28/4/2013)

Seven-time winner Rafael Nadal beat Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-0 to reach the Barcelona Open final on Saturday.

After the semifinal was delayed for rain, Nadal overcame an early break and dominated the rest of the way, with Raonic's big serve proving no match for his all-round game.

The fifth-ranked Spaniard will play countryman Nicolas Almagro in Sunday's final after he defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-1 to reach his second clay-court final of the year.

Nadal has won 38 straight matches on the Real Club de Tenis' outdoor red clay and has reached six straight finals - winning three - since returning from a seven-month injury layoff due to tendinitis in his left knee. His eight-year winning run at Monte Carlo ended last weekend when he lost in the final to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

His last loss at the Barcelona Open came 10 years ago to Spain's Davis Cup captain, Alex Corretja.

Raonic started strong and broke Nadal to love to go up 2-0 after having struck two aces in his first service game.

But after that initial misstep, Nadal wouldn't give up a single break chance while converting five of 11 to ease past his rival.

Nadal finished off the first set with a slam after wearing Raonic down with a series of his left-handed drives to work his way to the net.

The Canadian crumbled and Nadal cruised to his third victory in as many meetings with Raonic, who ceded the decisive point by hitting wide.

Almagro will play his first final at Barcelona after falling in his two previous appearances in the semis.

He dominated Kohlschreiber, striking nine aces and breaking the German four times while not allowing him one chance to steal his serve.

Almagro threw both hands into the air when Kohlschreiber's final return fell into the net.

The fourth-seeded Almagro lost his other clay-court final this season to John Isner in Houston.


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