Barcelona: Top seed Rafa Nadal set up an all-Spanish final against David Ferrer at the Barcelona Open after blasting his way past compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-4 on Saturday.
The world number two, fresh from winning an eighth-straight Monte Carlo title last week, is chasing a seventh Conde De Godo trophy and encountered minimal resistance from the 2010 champion in his semi-final.
Third-seed Ferrer will be making his fourth final appearance after surviving two tie breaks to triumph 7-6, 7-6 against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic earlier in the day.
"David is always very tough to play," Nadal told Spanish television, after his 33rd straight win at the tournament.
"He`s one of those rivals you prefer to avoid, but I am very pleased for him. He`s a real fighter, a great person, and a player who deserves a lot of admiration.”
"I wish him all the best, not tomorrow, but for the rest of the season," he added with a smile.
Nadal made a whirlwind start against Verdasco, whom he had beaten in all 12 previous meetings, breaking his opponent`s serve to love in the first game.
Verdasco`s strident yellow shirt stood out in the gloom but it was his errors under pressure that caught the eye, although he rallied briefly at the start of the second set.
He broke Nadal`s serve but soon after double-faulted on his own to lose the initiative, and made a string of mistakes to gift Nadal victory as he frittered away two breaks on his opponent`s serve at the end.
"I started the first set very strongly without making any errors," the French Open champion added.
"I was very aggressive and obviously it helped me to start with a break to zero which gave me a lot of confidence.”
"It allowed me to take the lead in the scoring, and he committed some mistakes which helped me. It`s logical that the second set was much more evenly balanced and it could have gone either way."
World number six Ferrer was put through a gruelling two hours and five minutes by Raonic, who knocked out Andy Murray in the quarter-finals on Friday.
"I feel good. It was a very difficult match but I played very solid and consistent," Ferrer told the ATP website (www.atpworldtour.com).
"It`s my fourth final here which is very difficult to do. Raonic has one of the best serves on tour, he`s improving a lot and he`s still very young. I was very focused during the tie-breaks and played better than him in those moments - that was the key to the match."
Ferrer is chasing an ATP-best fourth title this season, following victories in Auckland, Buenos Aires and Acapulco.
First Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012, 23:50