Rafael Nadal wins 500th match to reach Barcelona final

Rafael Nadal
Nadal is into his sixth Barcelona Open final in seven years

World number one Rafael Nadal eased past Croatia's Ivan Dodig to record his 500th career victory and reach the Barcelona Open final.

Nadal, now unbeaten on clay in 33 matches, won 6-3 6-2 to become the second youngest man after Bjorn Borg to post 500 wins in the Open era.

David Ferrer beat Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-4 in the other semi-final.

"Five hundred wins sounds a lot. My career has been much better than I could have dreamed of," said Nadal.

"I'm very grateful to all the people who have helped me to have the life I have, I'm very fortunate. I want to continue enjoying it because you never know when it might end."

Nadal did not have it all his own way against Dodig as the 56th-ranked Croatian managed to break serve once in each set, but the world number one was never seriously threatened as he saw out the match in just under 90 minutes.

The 24-year-old, who is going for a sixth Barcelona win in seven years, now faces a repeat of last week's Monte Carlo Masters final in which he beat fellow Spaniard Ferrer in straight sets.

Ferrer converted just three of his 12 break points to see off Almagro, but he now has the chance to avenge his 2008 and 2009 Barcelona final defeats by Nadal, as well as last week's Monte Carlo finale.

"It was a tough win physically," said Ferrer, who has been struggling with calf problems. "It was only two sets but they were hard fought. I was lucky to play my best in the important moments.

"I'm very happy to be in the final, this is a very important tournament for me. I had to play well to get past Nico. I'm hoping to still feel fully fit for the final.

"The calf felt OK but I could feel it as the match progressed. But I can recover for Sunday."

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