Nadal beats Norrie in 2 sets to move into Barcelona semis

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal brushed aside Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-4 to ease into the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Friday and moved closer to a record-extending 12th title at the event.

After Nadal breezed through the first set, Britain’s Norrie won back a break in the second. Nadal, however, took the advantage right back and closed it out when he converted on a second match point by smashing a forehand just inside the line.

“I had a good first set, dominating with my drive and moving the ball around,” Nadal said. “In the second set I let up a bit and …. I need to make sure that doesn’t happen tomorrow.”

The top-seeded Nadal needed three sets to get past Kei Nishikori and Ilya Ivashka in the first two rounds in Barcelona. Nadal is looking to rebound from a quarterfinal exit at Monte Carlo last week.

Nadal will next face countryman Pablo Carreno after he won a tightly contested quarterfinal with Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Schwartzman was serving to win the match when Carreno rallied and won three straight games to close it out.

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 for the Greek’s eighth straight-set victory in a row including his title run last week at Monte Carlo.

Tsitsipas will next face Jannik Sinner after he defeated Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

The Barcelona Open was not held last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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