It’s shaping up to be a great day of tennis at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Saturday as the final four—including world No. 1 Rafael Nadal—takes the court at the ATP tour 500 event.
Here are 10 things to know about the semifinals (and watch all the action live on Tennis Channel!)
Spain’s Top 2 players are a win away from meeting in the final. The first semifinal of the day pits Spanish No. 2 Pablo Carreno Busta against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, while the second semifinal of the day sees Spanish (and world) No. 1 Rafael Nadal square off against Belgium’s David Goffin.
Carreno Busta and Tsitsipas both got the biggest wins of their career on Friday. Carreno Busta’s quarterfinal win over No. 5 Grigor Dimitrov was his first career win over a Top 5 player, while Tsitsipas’ quarterfinal win over No. 7 Dominic Thiem was his second (and best) career Top 10 win.
Tsitsipas is trying to become the first Greek to reach an ATP final in 45 years. The last Greek player to reach an ATP tour final was Nicholas Kalogeropoulos in Des Moines, Iowa in 1973.
Carreno Busta is trying to reach the equal-biggest final of his career. His biggest final to date was at another 500-level event, Rio de Janeiro last year, where he finished runner-up to Thiem.
The first semifinal is a first-time meeting. Carreno Busta and Tsitsipas haven’t played before, but Tsitsipas isn’t likely to be intimidated—he’s already beaten two Top 20 players this week, No. 17 Diego Schwartzman and No. 7 Thiem. Could he get a third Top 20 win for the week against the world No. 11?
WATCH—Match point from Nadal's win over Klizan in Barcelona:
Goffin’s beaten a No. 1-ranked Nadal before. The Belgian has five career wins over Top 5 players, the best of which came against a No. 1-ranked Nadal in the round robin of the ATP Finals last year—Nadal was hampered by a knee injury in that match, though, and it was on indoor hard courts.
Nadal won their only two other meetings in straight sets. And those meetings were both on clay: 6-3, 6-1 in the 2017 Monte Carlo semifinals and 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the 2017 Madrid quarterfinals.
Nadal’s been on quite the roll on clay. His 6-0, 7-5 quarterfinal win over Martin Klizan on Friday stretched his winning streak on this surface to 17 matches and 42 sets in a row. Klizan had chances though—he was actually up 5-3 in the second set and eventually brought up three sets points.
Nadal is 56-3 in his career in Barcelona. The 10-time champion’s only losses in 59 career matches here came in the second round of his tournament debut as a 16-year-old in 2003 (to Alex Corretja), the quarterfinals in 2014 (to Nicolas Almagro) and the third round in 2015 (to Fabio Fognini).
The world No. 1 is also an incredible 84-17 (.832) in his career against Top 10 players on clay.
Nadal has never lost a semifinal or final in Barcelona. When he gets past the quarterfinals of this event, watch out—he’s 10-0 in semifinals and 10-0 in finals here. Even scarier, he’s won 19 of those 20 matches in straight sets (the only blemish was a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Ferrer in the 2008 final).
This week on Tennis Channel Plus:
ATP Barcelona Outer Courts (4/23-4/26)
-Catch all the action from Barcelona with outer-court coverage live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday April 23 at 5 a.m. ET