Nadal wins, will face Ferrer in Barcelona semis
BARCELONA, Spain -- Rafael Nadal extended his unbeaten run on clay to 70 matches Friday and advanced to the semifinals of the Barcelona Open by beating Potito Starace of Italy 6-2, 7-5.
Men's Clay-Court Win Streaks* Wins Player Streak 72 Rafael Nadal April 2005-current 53 Guillermo Vilas May-Sept. 1977 46 Bjorn Borg Oct. 1977- May 1979 40 Thomas Muster Feb.-June 1995 38 Thomas Muster Aug. 1995- April 1996 38 Ilie Nastase May-Oct. 1973 *Open era (since 1968)
After dropping serve to Starace in the 10th game of the second set, the two-time defending champion immediately broke the Italian for the fourth time before serving out the win.
"I came out on top in the difficult moments," Nadal said. "The truth is I didn't feel great, especially in the second set when I had a few break point chances against me."
Nadal goes for his 12th championship in the streak. He next plays David Ferrer of Spain, who beat David Nalbandian of Argentina 7-6 (5), 6-2.
After no breaks of serve in the first set, the fifth-seeded Ferrer broke twice in the second set to improve to 4-0 on clay against the fourth-seeded Argentine.
"This year I'm playing consistently, I'm relaxed with my game and I think this is the best start to a season of my career," Ferrer said. "With Rafael Nadal as the opponent tomorrow, the title looks very far away, but I'll bring everything without forgetting he is the favorite."
Ferrer has beaten Nadal only once in four meetings, on clay at Stuttgart in 2004.
Complete results Need the scores from any match played in this or any other tournament? Results
Guillermo Canas of Argentina also advanced after second-seeded Nikolay Davydenko withdrew ahead of their quarterfinals match because of an injury.
Canas will face Agustin Calleri, who beat Oscar Hernandez 6-0, 6-3.
Calleri broke Hernandez five times without dropping a single service game to match his best finish in Barcelona. Calleri lost to eventual champion Carlos Moya in the semifinals in 2003.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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