MADRID: Colombian Santiago Giraldo beat Rafael Nadal´s conqueror Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3 at the Barcelona Open on Saturday to reach just his second ever ATP final.
Almagro had described his win over Nadal, an eight-time champion in Barcelona, on Friday as possibly a turning point in his career. However, the Spaniard was unable to find the same form against the world number 65 as one break in the 11th game was enough to give Giraldo the first set. The second set was a tale of missed opportunities for Almagro as he could only convert one of five break points and was broken twice himself as Giraldo sealed victory in an hour and 26 minutes.
Japan´s Kei Nishikori will be Giraldo´s opponent in the final as he continued his fine form this season with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
Nishikori, playing for the first time on clay under new coach and former French Open champion Michael Chang, was dominant on serve throughout and never faced a break point on his way to sealing victory. “I was very happy to see lots of Japanese people congratulating me after the match,” said the world number 17. “I love coming to Spain to play. There have not been any easy matches. I am playing great and I am particularly pleased with my serve and forehand against (Marin) Cilic (in the quarter-finals) and today.”