Only David Ferrer stands between Rafael Nadal and a 7th Barcelona title Sunday as Rafa takes a 33-match win streak at the event against his countryman.
It’s the third time Nadal meets Ferrer in the Barcelona final. Head-to-head, Nadal leads 13-4 having won 10 straight on clay.
“It’s even more special to reach a final at home,” said Nadal after blowing out fellow Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-4 Saturday. “I enjoy this tournament a lot. Tomorrow I will have to play perfect to have a chance to beat one of best players in the world. I will try to play aggressive and hope David doesn’t have one of his best days.”
Nadal has also won his last 76 matches in April, and on clay his last 19 and 13 straight overall (18 straight sets).
“Today I played a very strong first set, maybe the best I’ve had on clay so far this season,” said Nadal. “To win in Monte-Carlo and to reach a final in Barcelona, no matter what happens tomorrow I have had a great start to clay season.”
Ferrer managed to end the Cinderella run of Canadian Milos Raonic who had upset Andy Murray a day earlier. But Ferrer proved too tough in the semifinals defeating the big-serving youngster in two tiebreaks.
“I feel good; it was a very difficult match but I played very solid and consistent,” said Ferrer. “It’s my fourth final here which is very difficult to do. Raonic has one of best serves on tour, he’s improving a lot and he’s still very young. I was very focussed during the tie-breaks and played better than him in those moments – that was the key to the match.”
Ferrer, though, knows the task won’t be easy Sunday.
“It will be difficult to beat Rafa on clay,” Ferrer said. “I’ve lost the last three times to him on clay here, I hope it will be different for me tomorrow.”
The Stuttgart WTA event title be decided between the Top 2 players in the world, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. The two queens of scream meet for a third time this year with Azarenka already having won at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
“I look forward to the challenge,” Sharapova said after ousting Petra Kvitova in the semifinals. “I’ve lost to Victoria the last few times so I’ll go out there and hope to change things around. I’ll look at the last few times we played and learn from my mistakes – but she’s playing such confident tennis this year, and she’s really the one to beat right now.”
Azarenka improved to 29-1 on the year after beating Agnieszka Radwanska. The 22-year-old has four titles already in 2012, 12 for her career. She has won five of eight meetings against Sharapova.
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