Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori have set up a dream final at the Barcelona Open final after the top two seeds came through their semifinal matches in straight sets on Saturday.
Nadal, the No.1 seed, had little trouble in dismissing 10th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-3 before Nishikori, seeded second, recorded a similarly dominant win over No.6 seed Benoit Paire.
The 6-3 6-2 victory saw Nishikori win his first match in three meetings against the Frenchman, who came out on top in their last two encounters – both at Grand Slams.
Nishikori, who won the past two years in Barcelona, took his winning streak at the ATP 500 claycourt event to 14 matches.
“He can be on and off his game,” Nishikori said of Paire.
“He’s got a great backhand and serve, but he was not making many first serves today.
“I tried to step in and attack his second serve. I was a little shaky in the second set but I’m happy to win and reach another final.
“I love Spain and always feel very comfortable playing in Barcelona. I’ve had good luck for the last two years and hope for more of the same in the final.”
That will come against Nadal, who will be gunning for his ninth title in the Catalonian capital.
“I’m just glad to be in the final,” the Spaniard said.
“I’m playing well this week. I really get the support when I play here in Spain, it helps so much. I’ll need more of it for this final. I’ll be preparing as best I can for a tough one.”
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