(AP) – Rafael Nadal will face a red-hot Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final after the 11-time champion eased past fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.
Rafa roared out to a 5-1 lead before Carreno pulled back a break. Carreno then had three break chances on Nadal’s next service game, but the latter saved them all and closed out the set.
Any thoughts of a Carreno comeback were snuffed out when Rafa broke his first service game of the second set in intimidating fashion. Carreno thought he smashed the ball well beyond Nadal’s reach, only for the 20-time Grand Slam winner to angle into position and blast the ball right back past him as Carreno lost his footing and tumbled to the clay.
The top-seeded Rafa improved to an 8-0 career record against the 13th-ranked Carreno.
Rafa will face Stefano Tsitsipas on Sunday. He holds a 6-2 head-to-head record with Tsitsipas, including a victory in the 2018 Barcelona Open final.
“Tomorrow will be a very tough one. Stefanos is playing probably better than ever,” said Rafa. “Not one set lost in Monte-Carlo and here, so it will be the toughest opponent possible. I hope to be ready. It is going to be a tough one, but I need to be ready to increase my level and let’s see.”
Of course, a 12th title in Barcelona would be wonderful, but Rafa would also return to number two. Tsitsipas is feeling very confident, so Rafa will need to play his best.
Rafa well don champ the king of Clay vamosssssss you can do it today it was a great much in 2 sets all the love your fans 💪💪💪😘🎾👍👍💪💪💪
Rafa’s ball sriking was much improved today and his serve was really good at the end of the second set. Still I saw a quote from Rafa saying that he’s not sure he has improved enough to beat Tsitsipas. I’ve never heard that before from Rafa but it is realistic. Tsitsipas hasn’t lost a set and has not been challenged even by Rublev.
On the other hand The Greek might be over confident and he’s due for a let down. Go Rafa! Bring it home!
David, yes, it’s about time for Stefanos to cool down tomorrow, let’s see……
Great match! Vamos final!!!🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼
That’s our Champ, I knew u gonna show Gonzales that u are the king of clay, vavas to the mos
Well done Rafa. A more hard fought match than the scoreline would suggest, but a good win. Still a bit more work to do on the first serve.
BEST OF LUCK FOR THE FINAL.
Best match of the week!👍🤗 Play even better tomorrow Rafa!🍀🎾❤️
No doubt Mimi But Tomorrow he just needs his improved Serve n we all know That Rafa is Practicing hard to earn a tough opponent so he can assess himself…. Tomorrow is the day to shine n improve his level
Yes, Khawartaimoor, all the best to Rafa!🥰
Rafa has won all 11 finals he has reached. I believe no exception tomorrow, looking forward to a good match……
Nice straight sets victory for Rafa against an in-form PCB.
Also great to see that Mama Nadal, Mariabel, and Mery ❤️ have been there supporting him.
Best for tomorrow against S.T.
A great win today-all the best tomorrow💪👍👏🤛🎾🍀❤️
It’s getting better and better👏👏 Well done champ. Take rest and than all the best for tomorrow. Vamos Rafa❤️