Kei Nishikori, Santiago Giraldo to play for Barcelona title

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Barcelona, Spain (4E Sports) – Fourth seed Kei Nishikori booked a spot in the final of the Barcelona Open after beating ninth seed Ernests Gulbis, 6-2, 6-4, Saturday.

Nishikori will go for his fifth ATP World Tour title against Santiago Giraldo, who ousted sixth seed Nicolas Almagro, 7-5, 6-3.

Giraldo won for the first time in six meetings against Almagro, who stunned eight-time Barcelona champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

The 24-year-old Nishikori won the fourth title of his career February in Memphis. He is 4-2 for his career in title matches.

Giraldo will appear in his second career final Sunday. His only other final run came in 2011 when he reached the title game in Santiago.

In Romania, defending champion Lukas Rosol and top seed Grigor Dimitrov sealed their title showdown at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy after winning their respective semifinal matches.

Rosol rallied past Robin Haase, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, to win his ninth straight match while Dimitrov was leading third-seeded Gael Monfils, 5-1, when the latter called it quits due to a right ankle injury.

On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova remained on course for a third straight title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix after beating Sara Errani, 6-1, 6-2, in Saturday’s semifinals.

The Russian improved her record against Errani to 5-0, including a victory in the 2012 French Open final.

Next up for Sharapova is ninth seed Ana Ivanovic, who defeated fifth seed Jelena Jankovic, 6-3, 7-5, in the other semifinal.

Sharapova is looking for her 30th career title, while Ivanovic will try for her 14th career title.

In Morocco, Romina Oprandi shocked top seed Daniela Hantuchova, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, to reach the final of the Marrakech Grand Prix.

In the final, the 28-year-old Oprandi will face Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, who ousted fifth seed Garbine Muguruza, 6-0, 6-3.

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