BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rafael Nadal will play Kei Nishikori in the Barcelona Open final after both past champions won their semifinals in straight sets on Saturday.
Nadal saw off Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 6-3 to return to his first final here since 2013, when he won the tournament a record eighth time.
Nishikori, the two-time defending champion, beat Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-2 earlier on the outdoor clay court.
Nadal holds an 8-1 win-loss record against Nishikori, but expects a tough final.
“I will have to play my best,” he said.
The top-seeded Nadal eased past Kohlschreiber, breaking his serve three times and saving the only break chance he conceded to the German. The home favorite sealed the win when Kohlschreiber hit his return long.
Nishikori dominated Paire, finishing the match with a total of five of nine break chances converted.
“It’s been great these three years here so I hope I can play a great match tomorrow,” Nishikori said.
The second-seeded Japanese took an early lead at 3-2 after Paire risked a drop shot that fell into the net to cede his second service game. It got worse for the Frenchman when he committed consecutive double faults to cede the last two points of the first set.
Paire was erratic, mixing unforced errors and trick shots, including a between-the-legs drop shot that he unsuccessfully tried to repeat on the match’s last point.
NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.
The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.
“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”
Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.
“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.
“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”
NEWPORT, R.I. — Andy Roddick says jokingly he can now keep Roger Federer from a unanimous selection for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
As a new inductee, Roddick gets to vote on future candidates. He jested ahead of his enshrinement on Saturday that he’ll use it to get back at Federer, who stood in his way during at least four Grand Slam finals.
Roddick joins inductees Kim Clijsters, six-time Paralympic medalist Monique Kalkman and journalist and historian Steve Flink. Tennis instructor and innovator Vic Braden was to be inducted posthumously.
Roddick won one Grand Slam and lost to Federer in the finals four times. He says he doesn’t ask himself what would have happened if he hadn’t come along at the same time of perhaps the greatest player.
He says the first text he got when he woke up Saturday was from Federer. Says Roddick: “He makes it extremely hard not to like him as a person.”