Nadal to face Ferrer in Barcelona final

Rafael Nadal powered past his compatriot Fernando Verdasco on Saturday in the semifinals of the ATP event in Barcelona

Story highlights

  • Rafael Nadal thrashes Fernando Verdasco to reach final of Barcelona Open
  • Compatriot David Ferrer beats Canada's Milos Raonic to reach final for fourth time
  • World No.1 Victoria Azarenka to play Maria Sharapova in final of WTA event in Stuttgart on Sunday
Rafael Nadal will play David Ferrer in the final of the Barcelona Open on Sunday after an emphatic straight sets win over Fernando Verdasco in Saturday's semifinal.
The Spaniard, fresh from an eighth straight title in Monte Carlo last weekend, was in commanding form once again on the clay brushing aside his compatriot 6-0 6-4 in just 85 minutes.
"I played a great first set, and stayed focused for the entire match even if the second set was a lot more difficult," Nadal said.
"It wasn't that easy at all, Fernando is a tough player who has won the title here. This was a very satisfying win for me, I'm glad to be in another final and have the chance to win another time at this great event," the world No.2 added.
Earlier Ferrer resisted a barrage of aces from Milos Raonic to squeeze through to the final 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-5).
The 21-year-old Canadian, who beat world No.4 Andy Murray in the previous round, provided a potent threat throughout the match but it was Ferrer who always held sway.
Despite failing to convert four break point opportunities in the opening set, Ferrer went on to dominate the tiebreak.
The second set was equally competitive with the world No.6 eventually prevailing in a more even tiebreak contest.
"It was very tough to beat Raonic. We each had chances but it came down to winning on the key points. He has a huge forehand and he's very difficult to break," Ferrer said.
It will be the Spaniard's fourth appearance in the final and gives him the chance to avenge the defeats handed out to him by Nadal in the three previous matches in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Nadal's record in Barcelona is second to none. He has won the event six times on the trot before injury ruled him out of last year's event.
Meanwhile at the WTA clay-court event in Stuttgart, world number one Victoria Azarenka has reached the final after cruising past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals.
It was the first time that the Belarusian and the world No.4 from Poland have met on clay but like the previous four occasions the pair have met this year Azarenka came out on top.
She raced into a one set lead in just 24 minutes with Radwanska winning only 11 points.
The second set was closer but the Australian Open champion prevailed with ease.
"I think she is such a good player that I have to step up to beat her, I think she brings the best out of my game. We had some good rallies and I was just trying to stay in control of the game," Azarenka said.
Her opponent in Sunday's final will be world No.2 Maria Sharapova who beat Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in Saturday's other semifinal.
Sharapova broke Kvitova's serve in the fifth game before closing out first set without alarm.
The Russian then broke Kvitova again in the 11th game of the second set but failed to capitalize this time losing her next service game as Kvitova forced a tie-break.
But Sharapova's nerve soon returned as she took an early lead in the tie-break which she never relinquished to seal a win over the Czech who beat her in last year's Wimbledon final.
"It was extremely close and I am just glad to get through. She's a very powerful hitter and hits it really low, you have to stay down and be aggressive," Sharapova said.