Nadal storms into Barcelona semis in two sets win over Norrie

Nadal, who is eyeing a record-extending 12 Barcelona title, will face countryman Pablo Carreno or Diego Schwartzman on Saturday for a spot in the final.

Rafael Nadal brushed aside Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-4 to ease into the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Friday and moved closer to a record-extending 12th title at the event.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Rafael Nadal brushed aside Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-4 to ease into the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Friday and moved closer to a record-extending 12th title at the event.

After Nadal breezed through the first set, Britain’s Norrie won back a break in the second. Nadal, however, took the advantage right back and closed it out when he converted on a second match point by smashing a forehand just inside the line.

“I had a good first set, dominating with my drive and moving the ball around,” Nadal said. “In the second set I let up a bit and …. I need to make sure that doesn’t happen tomorrow.”

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Nadal will next face countryman Pablo Carreno after he won a tightly contested quarterfinal with Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Schwartzman was serving to win the match when Carreno rallied and won three straight games to close it out.

The top-seeded Nadal needed three sets to get past Kei Nishikori and Ilya Ivashka in the first two rounds in Barcelona. Nadal is looking to rebound from a quarterfinal exit at Monte Carlo last week.

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 for the Greek’s eighth straight-set victory in a row including his title run last week at Monte Carlo.

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Tsitsipas will next face Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals.

The Barcelona Open was not held last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.