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Ferrer fires into Barcelona final

BARCELONA, Spain, April 23 – David Ferrer reached his second straight clay final on Saturday as the fourth seed set up half of another potential all-Spanish final at the Barcelona Open with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Nicolas Almagro.

The winner, beaten last weekend in the Monte Carlo final by Rafael Nadal, is likely to find himself in a repeat of that contest if top seed Nadal gets past Croatian outsider Ivan Dodig in the day’s second semi-final.

Ferrer reached his home title shot in just over 90 minutes, earning victory on his third match point.

Almagro, who will find himself in the ATP Top 10 for the first time in his career on Monday, salvaged a pair of Ferrer match-winners in the penultimate game and saved a third one a game later.

Ferrer, a dogged retriever, has now beaten Almagro in all seven of their meetings. He won despite five aces from his opponent and forced Almagro to save nine of a dozen break points. The win was in contrast to their last meeting, with Ferrer only winning that one two months ago after two hours, 42 minutes in Acapulco.

Nadal, Ferrer and Almagro are the top three-ranked Spaniards, with a local into the final for a 15th consecutive year at the Real Club de Tenis.

Nadal has won five of the last six editions but did not play in 2010 due to a knee injury.

Ferrer was playing a Barcelona semi for the fifth year in a row but has never nosed to victory after losing 2008 and 2009 finals to Nadal. Ferrer has now won 18 of his last 22 matches at the event.

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Ferrer broke early in the opening set but lost his lead as Almagro got it back for 3-4. Ferrer rallied in the next game to stay in front with a quick break-back. He earned a break in the fifth game of the second set and was never again seriously threatened.

Ferrer has never faced the 56th-ranked Dodig and has lost to Nadal on 12 of 16 occasions, including twice in 2011.

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