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Almagro to meet Chela in final

Top seed Nicolas Almagro will meet Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the final after two wins apiece on Saturday in the rain-affected Buenos Aires Open.

sports Updated: Feb 20, 2011 09:48 IST

Top seed Nicolas Almagro will meet Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the final after two wins apiece on Saturday in the rain-affected Buenos Aires Open.

Almagro followed his early afternoon quarter-final victory over Argentine wild card Jose Acasuso with a devastating performance to beat fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo 7-5 6-1 in their evening semi-final.

Robredo, winner of the Santiago Open two weeks ago at the start of the Latin American claycourt circuit, had earlier disposed of home favourite David Nalbandian 6-4 6-4 in a tussle of former champions.

Chela reached his first home final with a 6-2 6-2 upset victory over second seed Stanislas Wawrinka having earlier completed a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win against Albert Montanes of Spain.

Wawrinka, the world number 15 playing his first tournament on clay since last year's French Open, had earlier beaten Argentine fifth seed and 2007 champion Juan Monaco 7-5 6-3 in their quarter-final.

Wawrinka's defeat was only his second in 14 matches this year after losing to fellow Swiss Roger Federer in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

"I've been looking for this for 11 years," the 31-year-old Chela, three times a semi-finalist, said of the tournament at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club first held in 2001.

"I didn't expect what happened last year, winning two titles gave me a lot of confidence," added Chela, enjoying a new lease of life after victories in Houston and Bucharest in 2010, ending a three-year wait to take his tally to six.

More aggression
World number 13 Almagro, looking for a second straight title on the circuit having won the Brazil Open last weekend, has been in good form this month adding a more aggressive streak to his game once regarded as defensive.

The Auckland semi-finalist, having beaten Acasuso 7-5 6-3, took his tally this year to 13-2 as he crushed Robredo in the second set after taking the first with a break of serve in the 12th game.

Allowing sixth seed Robredo just one game in the second, Almagro peppered his compatriot with pin-point drives across court and down the lines.

Setting himself up with three match points serving at 5-1, the right hander won it on the first with yet another crosscourt shot as he met Robredo's return at the left sideline.

"This was a very special day, winning two such important matches," said Almagro. "I had to attack a lot, Robredo came with a lot of confidence from the Santiago title."

Only one of Friday's quarter-finals had got started and was interrupted with Chela and Montanes 3-3 in the third set. Chela quickly completed the win taking three sets on Saturday.