Rafael Nadal, pushed to the limit in a high octane first set, made up for his semi-final defeat at the Rio Open a week ago by reaching the Argentine Open final with a 7-6(7) 6-2 victory over Carlos Berlocq.
The world number four will meet a fourth Argentine in succession in the tournament, 2007 champion Juan Monaco, in Sunday’s showpiece (today) match looking for a 65th career title and record-equalling 46th on clay.
The first set, with 74th-ranked Berlocq playing every bit as well as his multi-titled opponent, went with serve before the Argentine ran up a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak.
However, Nadal fought back, saving five consecutive set points and then one more to take it 9-7 on his first set point.
“Evidently, when you recover five points (in a row) as well as playing well you have to have some luck, you can’t do it without luck. Carlos was playing bravely and serving well,” Nadal told reporters.
“In the end I managed to be more dynamic and aggressive and place my shots well,” said top seed Nadal, who has been working on a comeback to his best form after right wrist problems during the second half of last year.