|Spaniards Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer will meet in the final of an ATP event for the second straight week after both were semifinal winners Saturday at the Barcelona Open. (REUTERS)
BARCELONA, Spain -- Spaniards Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer will meet in the final of an ATP event for the second straight week after both were semifinal winners Saturday at the Barcelona Open.
The fourth-seeded Ferrer advanced first with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and the top-seeded Nadal followed suit with a 6-3, 6-2 rout of Croatia's Ivan Dodig.
Nadal topped Ferrer last Sunday in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters. It gave Nadal his seventh straight Monte Carlo crown, and on Sunday the world No. 1 will try for his sixth Barcelona title.
Not only will the two meet for the second week in a row with a title at stake, but it will also be the pair's third meeting for the Barcelona championship. Nadal beat Ferrer for the crown in 2008 and 2009.
Nadal, who didn't play in this event last year because of injury, has won 28 straight matches on the Barcelona clay. Saturday's victory was also Nadal's 500th on the ATP Tour.
Ferrer broke serve three times on Saturday and improved to 7-0 all-time against Almagro. Nadal also had little trouble on Saturday, winning in just 87 minutes with six service breaks. He won 60 of the 97 total points.
In addition to the second straight meeting for Ferrer and Nadal, it will be their third of 2011. Ferrer won the first matchup this season, a straight-set triumph in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Nadal does, however, own a 12-4 lifetime record in the series.
Ferrer will be bidding for his third title of 2011, having previously captured the tournaments in Auckland and Acapulco. He is 11-11 all-time in title matches.
Nadal has a mark of 44-15 all-time in finals. He will be trying for his 31st career title on clay, which would leave him alone in third place all-time in the Open Era (1968). Bjorn Borg and Manuel Orantes have also won 30 clay titles, while Guillermo Vilas sits atop the list with 45 and Thomas Muster is second with 40.
Sunday's winner will earn a first prize of $418,000.