BARCELONA – Spain’s Pablo Andujar reached the final of the Barcelona Open by defeating David Ferrer 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 on Saturday, his first victory over his countryman in four tries, and will take on Japanese top seed and defending champion Kei Nishikori for the title.
Andujar had never won a set against the eighth-ranked Ferrer before, but after immediately falling behind 3-0 the world No. 66 was the more aggressive and decisive player, regularly dictating the rallies against his more accomplished rival and finishing off points at the net.
Andujar evened the first set at 4-4 but then seemed to let it slip away when he squandered three set points in the 12th game and then fell behind 6-2 in the tiebreaker.
It was at that juncture though that the underdog played his best tennis of the semifinal, reeling off six straight points to steal the first set and then maintaining his level at the start of the second to grab a 3-0 lead.
Ferrer righted the ship and did not lose his serve the rest of the way, but surprisingly he was unable to create a single break point in the second set en route to losing the match in one hour and 45 minutes.
“He applied the pressure and I played two poor games in the second set,” Ferrer, who has never won this clay-court event, said afterward. “But the truth is Pablo played very well today.”
Andujar faces another huge challenge in Sunday’s final against an in-form Nishikori, who routed Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-2 in Saturday’s first semifinal in one hour and 17 minutes.
The Spaniard has a record of 1-2 against the world No. 5, with that lone win coming in their only match on clay – a quarterfinal clash at the 2013 Madrid Masters.