Nadal, Ferrer advance, will meet in Barcelona Open final for fourth time
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Six-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-4 Saturday to ease into the Barcelona Open final, where he will face fellow Spaniard David Ferrer for a fourth time.
Nadal dominated from the start, winning 21 of 27 points to break Verdasco's first three service games and set him on his way to his 33rd straight win at the competition.
In the other semifinal, Ferrer held off Milos Raonic's powerful serve for a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) victory to give him a shot at his fourth title of the year.
"Rafa is the best player, clay-court player ever," Ferrer said. "He has beaten me three times in the finals here. I hope tomorrow is different."
Verdasco, who won here in 2010 when Nadal sat out the tournament he has otherwise dominated since 2005, barely offered resistance as the second-ranked player hit winner after winner.
Nadal ran off seven straight points to open the match, breaking Verdasco's first service game with an intimidating smash.
"I began the first set very strong, and getting the first break gave me a lot of confidence," Nadal said. "He also made some errors early on, which helped me."
Nadal improved to 13-0 all time against Verdasco and predicted a close final.
"David is always tough. He is a rival you never want to face," Nadal said. "I wish him the best. Well... not for tomorrow, but for the rest of the season."
Raonic hit 15 aces against Ferrer, displaying the same massive serve that led to his upset of Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.
But the third-seeded Ferrer worked his Canadian opponent around the red-clay court with well-placed ground strokes and proved the better finisher in the two tiebreakers.
"It was very difficult to beat him," Ferrer said. "We both had our chances. It was a question of winning or losing the key points."
Behind 3-1 in the second-set tiebreaker, the sixth-ranked Ferrer fought back and claimed the match with a superb return that clipped the sideline.
"I'm very happy to make my fourth final," Ferrer said. "I have a special relationship with this tournament. I hope I can fulfill my dream of finally winning here."