Down an early break in his Barcelona semifinal, Rafael Nadal revved up his game and rolled to an easy win over David Goffin. The 6-4, 6-0 victory was Rafa’s 400th of his career and clay, and improved his win streak on his favorite surface to 18 and upped his incredible set streak to 44.
“Very happy,” Nadal said. “I played I think my best match of the tournament so far, no doubt about that. It was a great first set in my opinion. Both of us played at a very high level.”
Nadal joins countryman Manuel Orantes, Thomas Muster and Guillermo Vilas as the lone players to hit 400 clay wins in the Open Era.
“David started brilliantly,” Nadal added. “I think I played a good first game, but I could not do anything. He served very well. And then was spectacular hitting many lines. After that I could raise a bit the intensity and everything changed. I think it has been my best match here against one of the most dangerous players in the world.”
In the title match – Rafa’s 11th in Barcelona – Nadal will meet first time ATP finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 19-year-old became the first Greek player to make an ATP finals since Nicholas Kalogeropoulos in 1973 (Des Moines) by easing past Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 6-4.
“I couldn’t have enjoyed it more, I went onto the court and enjoyed every single moment,” said Tsitsipas. “I am very proud of myself and also I believe I made my country proud.”
The 19-year-old who will try to become Greece’s first ATP champion, has never played Nadal, but looks forward to the challenge.
“I have watched millions of his matches on clay,” said Tsitsipas. “I know the way he is playing and, I think, the way he is going to play against me.
“I was preparing for this match already, ten years. I’m going to go out there, enjoy it and play my best.”
Nadal seeks his 77th career title, 55th on clay and 11th in Barcelona on Sunday.
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