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Ferrer to face Nalbandian in Heineken Open final

Spain's David Ferrer is to bid for his second title at the Heineken Open tomorrow when he plays David Nalbandian in the final.

sports Updated: Jan 14, 2011 16:27 IST

Spain's David Ferrer is to bid for his second title at the Heineken Open on Saturday when he plays David Nalbandian in the final.

Argentine sixth seed Nalbandian, who last played the event in 2003, spoiled a possible all-Spanish final on Friday with his 6-4, 6-2 defeat of second seed Nicolas Almagro while Ferrer posted an efficient victory over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-3, 7-5.

Giraldo, ranked 64th, upset a pair of seeds en route to his first career semi-final on the ATP, but he was unable to improve upon his 0-4 mark against top 10 opposition as he lost his 11th set without a win while facing an elite player.

The 2007 Auckland champion, Ferrer, ranked seventh, spent 74 minutes in advancing into his 12th career meeting with Nalbandian, who opens next week at the Australian Open against Lleyton Hewitt in a rerun of the 2002 Wimbledon final won by the Australian.

Ferrer leads Nalbandian 6-5 since they first met in Umag, Croatia, on clay nine years ago.

Nalbandian has lifted his ranking back to 27th after several seasons of struggling to return from 2009 hip surgery. The 29-year-old has progressed into the title match without a loss of a set this week.

He will be bidding for his 12th career title with his last one earned in August in Washington on hard court.

"I know that I have to play my tennis," the Argentine said. "If I play good and with confidence, it's tough for the opponents.

"Always when we play together, it is a very tough match, long rallies. It is going to be the same as the rest of our matches. I have to keep playing my way, my level, and try to win."

Nalbandian will also be playing his 22nd career final, standing 11-10. He has won at least one trophy per year since 2005.

First Published: Jan 14, 2011 16:21 IST