ATP Barcelona Open: Santiago Giraldo to meet Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final
Last Updated: 26/04/14 7:03pm
Santiago Giraldo: Will meet Japan's Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final
Unseeded Santiago Giraldo upset Rafael Nadal's conqueror Nicolas Almagro to reach just his second ever ATP Tour final at the Barcelona Open on Saturday.
Giraldo from Colombia beat the sixth seed from Spain 7-5 6-3 and will next meet Japan's Kei Nishikori in Sunday's showpiece at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.
Almagro had described his win over Nadal, an eight-time champion in the Catalan capital, on Friday as possibly a turning point in his career.
However, the Spaniard was unable to find the same form against the world No 65 as one break in the 11th game was enough to give Giraldo the first set.
The second set was a tale of missed opportunities for Almagro as he could only convert one of five break points and was broken twice himself as Giraldo sealed victory in an hour and 26 minutes.
"Yesterday's game doesn't serve as an excuse," Almagro said. "Giraldo grazed perfection today, above all in the first set, and I couldn't find the answer.
"He believed more in his tennis, in how he had to play, and he barely made any mistakes. I committed errors when I could have gone in front. That was the key."
Fourth-seeded Nishikori continued his fine form this season with a solid 6-2 6-4 win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
Nishikori was playing for the first time on clay under new coach and former French Open champion Michael Chang, was dominant on serve throughout and never faced a break point on his way to sealing victory.
"I was very happy to see lots of Japanese people congratulating me after the match," said the world No 17, who reached his seventh ATP Tour final.
"I love coming to Spain to play. There have not been any easy matches. I am playing great and I am particularly pleased with my serve and forehand against (Marin) Cilic (in the quarter-finals) and today."