(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.”