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ATP Barcelona Open: Eight-time winner advances to championship match


04-24-2016 13:14 BJT

For tennis, turn to Spain and the Barcelona Open where Rafael Nadal is in the hunt for a ninth title. The Spaniard who once dominated the clay court tournament has not hoisted the trophy he knows so well since 2013.

But the King of Clay seems rejuvenated after struggling for the last year and a half, and after winning the Monte Carlo masters last week, he know has a chance to reach a second consecutive final, if he can get past Philipp Kohlschreiber.

That's Nadal serving in the far court and up a break at 4-2 in the first set. Kohlschreiber not known for his prowess on clay, but the German has been playing well, just not well enough to handle that blast down the line. Nadal goes on to win the frame 6-3.

Tied at 3-3 in the second, but Nadal has a break point. His deep return opens up the court and Rafa smacks a backhand to the corner.

To match point for the Spaniard, and it's a good serve from Kohlschrieber, but Nadal suddenly goes on the attack and the German can only stab at the ball, sending it long as Nadal takes the frame 6-3 to book his spot in the final having not lost a set all tournament.

Nadal defeats Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3

Nadal defeats Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3

Two-time defending champ from Japan faces Nadal for title

The other semi-final features two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori looking to extend his 13 match winning streak here in Barcelona against Benoit Paire. But the Frenchman seems more concerned with looking good than winning as he goes between his legs for no reason and promptly loses the point.

Nishikori up 5-3 now and all business. The Japanese cracks a backhand down the line en route to winning the first set 6-3 as Paire says, "C'mon man, put it between your legs."

The second set would be very similar and Nishikori now has match point up 5-2, and Paire's desire to hit a tweener has not diminished. The Frenchman chases down the drop shot and goes between his legs for the winner. The crowd loves it and his mission seems to be complete.

Nishikori with another chance to end it and once again Paire goes between his legs, but fails. 1 out of three isn't, but Nishikori wins the real prize, a spot in the final against Nadal and a chance to win his third title in a row.

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