Rafa Nadal finally had an easy day on the clay whe he eased past British No.2 Camron Norrie 6-1 6-4 to reach the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 500 semi-finals to edge closer to his goal of winning his 12th title in the Catalonian capital.
I need to hold the level of intensity from the first set, I was able to change direction with my forehand and have most of the points under control. Then the situation was a little bit different, so that’s why I suffered later Rafa Nadal
His win is also his 450th on clay and maintains his reaffirms his description of being the King Of Clay.
“I played well at the beginning, especially in the first set. I think I did a lot of things well. Then I stopped myself a little bit. That’s something that cannot happen, especially tomorrow,” Nadal told the crowd during his on-court interview.
“I need to hold the level of intensity from the first set, I was able to change direction with my forehand and have most of the points under control. Then the situation was a little bit different, so that’s why I suffered later.”
Nadal will face fellow countryman Pablo Carreno Busta in the semi-finals. Carreno Busta came from 2-5 down in the third to deny Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, the fourth seed, a semi-final spot, 6-4 3-6 7-5.
Meanwhile, aged just 19, Jannik Sinner of Italy became the youngest Barcelona semi-finalist since Nadal in 2005, after he upset the in-form Russian, Andrey Rublev, the thir seed, 6-2 7-6(6) who had a set point in the second set.
“I am trying to get better every week,” Sinner said. “He has played many, many matches already this year and I tried to play my tennis. It was difficult to finish it off. I had three break points at 5-5, which I could not convert, but I’m pleased to win in the end. I am getting more experience in every tournament I play.”
Sinner now meets the Monte Carlo Masters champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas, the second seed who is now 8-0 on the clay this year after rolling past Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-3.
“I think my hard efforts paid off,” said Tsitsipas. “I wouldn’t say it was the best start, but I managed to win my serve from 0/40 down. That got me into the match and that helped me to break him at the end. I didn’t panic, but I knew what I was doing. It feels good to be able to play the way I am. I really hope the winning streak continues.”