Unstoppable Nadal joins 400 club to reach Barcelona final

By Peter Thompson 29 April 2018 108
Unstoppable Nadal joins 400 club to reach Barcelona final

The irrepressible Rafael Nadal will face teenage surprise package Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final after breezing past David Goffin in straight sets to record his 400th victory on clay.

Goffin won the first two games of the match, but that was as good as it got for the fourth seed as the Nadal juggernaut rolled on with a 6-4 6-0 triumph on the court named in his honour.

Nadal has now won an astonishing 44 consecutive sets and 18 matches in a row on his favourite surface and becomes only the fourth player in the Open Era to have recorded 400 wins on the dirt.

Goffin beat the legendary Spaniard in their previous encounter at the ATP World Tour Finals and made a blistering start on Pista Rafa Nadal, but the home favourite soon clicked into gear to stand on the brink of winning the tournament for an 11th time a week after his 11th Monte Carlo Masters triumph.

Nadal, who must retain his title on Sunday to remain world number one, was broken in the first game after making a mess of a backhand following a stunning winner from Goffin. 

An angry Nadal did not take long to build up a head of steam, breaking to love to level at 2-2 after unleashing a barrage of thunderous groundstrokes in a high-quality start to the semi-final.

Both players treated the crowd to winners of the highest order and Nadal was halfway to another final after Goffin was broken when he served to stay in the set, three errant forehands proving costly for the Belgian. 

While the first set had been closely contested, the second was anything but as Nadal got the job done in clinical fashion, breaking to lead 2-0 with a rasping forehand winner and going 4-0 up courtesy of a double fault from a wilting Goffin.

Goffin looked beaten long before he blasted a forehand long to suffer a humiliating bagel, Nadal appearing unstoppable in his homeland.

Tsitsipas continued his remarkable run by becoming the first Greek to reach an ATP World Tour final since 1973, beating Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5 6-3.

The 19-year-old had not won a match on clay last week, but he has not dropped a set in Barcelona after breaking three times to pull off an upset.

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