World No. 3 Rafael Nadal will conclude his Buenos Aires campaign this week against Juan Monaco, in what will mark the seventh encounter between the two competitors. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 5-1 and has won all of their clay court encounters to date.
The top seed Rafael Nadal was faced with a sterdy challenger on Saturday afternoon on the red clay, as he defeated Carlos Berlocq 7-6(7), 6-2 in the semi-final stage of the Argentina Open presentado por Buenos Aires Ciudad. Nadal is now through to his 93 tour-level final, according to the ATP World Tour.
“I’m happy for Pico, who had long since reached a final,” said Nadal. “It’s a joy to play this decisive match against a friend and for me it is also very important to play my first final of the year here in Buenos Aires, a place where I feel the affection of the people.
“I was serving short in the first set and he (Berlocq) was very aggressive. In the second I was more aggressive and more dynamic with my shots. The tranquility and confidence gave me more energy at the end. I’m happy with the victory.”
While Nadal’s match was relatively straightforward, his opponent, Juan Monaco, needed two hours and 28 minutes to work his way past Nicolas Almagro in the semi-final round of the tournament. He eventually downed the Spaniard 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4 to secure his spot in the final on home soil.
“It was another tough match and I’m very happy for having managed to win,” said Monaco. “I have wanted to play in a final for a long time and it makes it more special that it is here, in Buenos Aires, with all these people supporting me.
This marks the seventh time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nadal leading the series 5-1. He will look to add to his lead against Monaco on Sunday, in the Argentinean’s own backyard.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets