Rafael Nadal reaches 1st final of year
Reigning French Open champ Rafael Nadal defeated Carlos Berlocq in straight sets to reach the final of the Argentina Open where he will try to secure a slice of clay-court history.
The 28-year-old left-handed Spaniard rallied in the opening-set tie-breaker from a 6-1 deficit to win, then clinched Saturday’s semifinal when Berlocq hammered a forehand long on the first match point. “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,” said Nadal, who won 7-6 (9/7), 6-2.
Nadal next faces Argentina’s Juan Monaco in Sunday’s final where Nadal will be trying to equal Guillermo Vilas’ all-time record of 46 titles on clay. Earlier in the day, Monaco beat Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 to book his spot in the final.
Monaco reached his 20th career ATP final and is competing in his third final on home soil at the Estadio Billoch Caride. Nadal is playing in this event for the first time in 10 years, when he reached the quarter finals. He is 5-1 lifetime against Monaco.