Rafael Nadal will bid for a record-tying 46th career clay court title Sunday in Buenos Aires. Today, Nadal overcame a 6-1 first set tiebreak deficit to beat Carolos Berlocq 7-6(7), 6-2 in the semifinals. Nadal will now meet good friend Juan Monaco in the final.
“I’m happy for Pico, who had long since reached a final,” said Nadal. “It’s a joy to play this decisive match against a friend and for me it is also very important to play my first final of the year here in Buenos Aires, a place where I feel the affection of the people.
“I was serving short in the first set and he (Berlocq) was very aggressive. In the second I was more aggressive and more dynamic with my shots. The tranquility and confidence gave me more energy at the end. I’m happy with the victory.”
Monaco advanced by beating former Top 10 and 2011 champ Nicolas Almagro in three sets 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4.
“It was another tough match and I’m very happy for having managed to win,” said Monaco. “I have wanted to play in a final for a long time and it makes it more special that it is here, in Buenos Aires, with all these people supporting me.
“Last year it was very hard due to the physical problems I had. At the end of the season I started to play a little better and am now in the final here, so the hard work is paying off.”
Nadal has won five of six meeting against Monaco. He is seeking his 65th career title, first since the French Open last June.
Monaco is trying to beat his first Top 5 foe since his win over No. 5 David Ferrer in the 2011 Valencia SFs.
The Argentina Open title will be won by an Argentine or Spaniard for the 13th consecutive year on Sunday. Since 2003, the champion has come from one of the two countries, including the past six by Spain.
Open Era Clay Court Title Leaders
Guillermo Vilas 46
Rafael Nadal 45
Thomas Muster 40
Bjorn Borg 30
Manuel Orantes 30
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