>> Friday, April 27, 2012
The BARCELONA OPEN BANC SABADELL 2012 semifinals is set with world #2 Rafael Nadal leading the final four players to contend for this year's title. Nadal downed his quarterfinal foe fifth seed Janko Tipsarevic in an impressive 6-2, 6-2 victory that lasted 83 minutes. He now improves to 25-3 for the season and he is seeking his second straight ATP title of the year after winning last week at Monte-Carlo. Nadal has not lost in Barcelona since 2003, and has lifted the trophy on his past six appearances, from 2005 to 2009, and also last year.
Nadal's company in the final four includes countrymen and former champion Fernando Verdasco and 3-time finalist David Ferrer. Gate-crashing the semifinals is big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic who beat Andy Murray in the quarterfinals 64 76(3). Raonic is better known for his achievements on hard courts but has impressed with back-to-back wins over Nicolas Almagro and Murray. Ferrer advanced with a 67(4) 76(7) 63 win over 7th seed Feliciano Lopez and Verdasco got a short victory when 8th seed Kei Nishikori retired in the first set.
Raonic will meet Ferrer for a spot in the finals while Nadal is expected to advance over Verdasco.
Nadal quote after advancing to semi-finals: "I felt well. I played a very good match, better than yesterday... Very happy to be back in the semi-finals.You cannot expect an easy match against the No. 8 in the world. 6-2, 6-2 is a very good result for me. ... I have a lot of confidence from my past results here but it doesn't mean it will continue that way... Each match is different. I go on court and try my best in every moment and hope it goes well for me."
Raonic quote after beating Murray: "It's very, very difficult and a big plus in confidence for me... Clay's not his best surface, but he consistently does well on it. Last year he reached the semi-finals at the French Open, Monte-Carlo and Rome, so he can play really well on it. For me, it was a big win, regardless of the surface."