Nadal, Tsitsipas face Barcelona final epic

·2-min read

Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas will do battle for the Barcelona Open title after both cruised into the final in straight sets.

Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-2 on Saturday to stand on the brink of being crowned champion for a 12th time at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899.

Tsitsipas also maintained his magnificent run of form with a 6-3 6-3 defeat of rising star Jannik Sinner to set up a potential classic on Sunday.

"Tomorrow will be a very tough one. (Tsitsipas) is playing probably better than ever," Nadal said.

"Not one set lost in Monte Carlo and here, so it will be the toughest opponent possible. I hope to be ready."

Tsitsipas also beat Nadal in their last meeting in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February, when the Greek rallied from a two-set deficit over four hours.

Overall, though, Nadal holds a 6-2 head-to-head record with Tsitsipas, including a victory in the 2018 Barcelona Open final.

"It feels great to be back (in the final). I will try to redeem myself from last time," Tsitsipas said.

Nadal, the top seed, won 77 per cent of points on his first serve and returned superbly in yet another sublime clay-court exhibition.

He broke Carreno Busta in his compatriot's first service game and ominously charged into a 5-1 lead in imperious fashion on Pista Rafael Nadal, the court named after him.

Carreno Busta broke back to prolong the opening set, but the 20-time grand slam champion wrapped it up in 45 minutes before swiftly taking charge of the second.

The world No.3 breezed into a 4-0 advantage and did not face a solitary break point as he took just shy of an hour-and-a-half to set up a showdown with Tsitsipas.

The in-form Greek won the Monte Carlo Masters last weekend and matched Andrey Rublev's ATP tour-leading total of 26 victories this season by steering past the Italian teenager Sinner.

Second seed Tsitsipas has won all 17 sets he has played on clay this season, having saved all four break points that Sinner earned.