Nadal joins Murray in Barcelona semi-finals

Nadal joins Murray in Barcelona semi-finals

Nadal joins Murray in Barcelona semi-finals

Dominic Thiem upset top-ranked Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to advance to the final against defending champion Rafael Nadal at the Barcelona Open on Saturday.

"It means a lot to me to win 10 titles here in Barcelona as well", Nadal commented on court after his landmark triumph.

The five-time Grand Slam champion will next face Kristina Mladenovic of France, who overcame Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal will play the semifinals against Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, who didn't drop a serve in beating Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation 6-4, 6-1.

Thiem beat Nadal past year on clay in the Argentina Open semi-finals.

"I got three matches in three days against all different players", said Murray.

Nadal was tested by the world number 94 in the opening set, in which he was broken before winning it comfortably on a tie-break, but stepped up to finish the match in style.

He was outclassed in the first set, but dug in during the second as he grew into the contest and levelled the match with a single break of serve.

Nadal beat Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 after the fourth-seeded Thiem dispatched with Murray in windy conditions at the Real Club de Tenis.

However, in a fluctuating deciding set, the three-time Grand Slam victor hesitated over a smash and instead sent a wild forehand way beyond the baseline, which took Thiem to match point.

Sunday's final will be his fifth of the season for the Spaniard as he primes his clay-court game for Roland Garros in a month. Thiem took the first set 6-2 and the dropped his first set in the tournament as Murray took the second but the Austrian came back strong to win the decider 6-4. The only thing that Nadal has never done on clay is win all three Masters 1000 tournaments on clay in the same year.

It was the Spaniard who edged ahead again with a break at 4-4 only to play his worst game of the match serving for it.

"It was a close first set and a good quality of tennis", said Nadal.

Thiem had to battle back from a break down in the third set, but constantly put pressure on Murray's serve and broke the world No 1 another three times in the deciding set to seal his place in the final. Murray responded and upped his concentration in the second set by committing less unforced errors and engaging in elongated rallies with Thiem.

"I knew he was in great shape after beating three great players before me", Thiem said.

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