ATP Barcelona: Rafael Nadal beats Cameron Norrie to remain on title course

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ATP Barcelona: Rafael Nadal beats Cameron Norrie to remain on title course

World no. 3 and the 11-time Barcelona Open champion Rafael Nadal is through to the semi-final at one of his favorite tournaments, beating Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes. Playing better than against Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori, Nadal hit 22 winners and 17 unforced errors to raise his level and control the pace, delivering his 64th Barcelona win from 68 encounters!

Rafa lost serve once and produced four breaks that carried him home, facing Diego Schwartzman or Pablo Carreno Busta in the next round. Nadal needed 40 minutes to seal the opening set, serving well and stealing the rival's serve twice for 6-1.

They played well in the opening service games, and Rafa grabbed the third game with a service winner before stealing Cameron's serve to gain the advantage. The Spaniard brought the fifth game home with another unreturned serve and took the fourth break opportunity in the next one to forge a 5-1 lead.

Rafa held at love a few minutes later to secure the set in style, gathering a boost ahead of set number two.

Rafael Nadal ousted Cameron Norrie to reach the Barcelona Open semi-final.

The home favorite placed a perfect forehand return winner in the third game to obtain a break at love and take a big step towards the finish line.

From 30-0 down in game four, Rafa won four straight points to avoid troubles, finishing it with an ace passing a small test. Creating a break point at 4-2, Nadal failed to seize it after a poor bounce, missing the entire ball and a chance to cement the victory.

Out of a sudden, the Spaniard sprayed a couple of mistakes in game eight and experienced two break points, repelling them with winners before Cameron converted the third to lock the result at 4-4. Staying calm, Rafa grabbed a break at love a few minutes later and sealed the deal with a forehand winner in game ten for a place in the semis.

Nadal is trying to win the first ATP title since Roland Garros in October last year, struggling with a back injury this year and playing only two events before Barcelona, failing to reach the semis at each.