ATP Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal remains on course for eighth title
Last Updated: April 28, 2013 5:32pm
Rafael Nadal: The world No 5 faces Nicolas Almagro in final
The final of the Barcelona Open will be an all-Spanish showdown after Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro advanced through their respective semi-finals on Saturday.
Crowd favourite and seven-time winner Nadal came through his encounter against big-serving Milos Raonic 6-4 6-0 following a lengthy rain delay.
The Canadian fifth seed did make a bright start to the match and broke the 'King of Clay' in the early stages. However, Nadal fought back to level the set at 3-3 before breaking at a crucial time to seal it 6-4.
The world No 5 then broke Raonic at the start of the second set before dominating the rest of the way and going on to claim a comfortable 'bagel' set to advance through to Sunday's final.
Nadal has now won 38 straight matches on the Real Club de Tenis's outdoor red clay and has reached six straight finals, winning three, since returning from a seven-month injury lay-off.
Nadal, bidding for his eighth title in nine years in Catalunya, will next face Almagro.
The fourth seed, bidding for a 13th career title, did not face a single break point and converted four of his seven opportunities to seal a 6-2 6-1 victory in just over 50 minutes against German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
However, the world No 22 faces the unenviable task of trying to beat his compatriot Nadal who holds a perfect 9-0 head-to-head record against him, including seven victories on clay.
"I know that Nico is playing at a very high level and has had a fantastic week," Nadal said. "I will try to play aggressively and dominate the points although it will be very hard against a player like him."