Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer set up Italian Open final meeting

Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer stands between Rafael Nadal and a seventh Italian Open title after they both won their semi-finals in straight sets.

Nadal, 26, beat Czech Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-4 in Rome to move closer to a second title in eight days following his Madrid Masters triumph last Sunday.

He will face Swiss second seed Roger Federer in Sunday's final after he beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-6 6-4.

"I am feeling better physically," Nadal said.

"These are emotional moments for me as I think I have managed to turn around a situation in which, after many months of doubts, I am able to play at a level that I would not have dreamed of four months ago."

Berdych, 27, had ousted world number one Novak Djokovic earlier in the week.

But, despite an improved second set, he was unable to record his first victory on clay against Nadal.

The world number six had previously beaten Nadal only three times in 16 encounters. Only four of those were on clay, and all were won by the Spaniard.

World number five Nadal, who has now reached eight finals in as many events since his return from a seven-month injury lay-off, broke Berdych twice in the opening set, including in the opening game.

The Czech started the second set positively by holding serve, but squandered his first break point in the next and was the broken by a Nadal forehand winner in the ninth game.

"He starts really well and, of course, it's Rafa and we know how he plays on clay," said Berdych.

"It was a good start for him. Yesterday I had one chance that I did take and I won, and today I had one chance that I didn't take and I lost."

Nadal, who will be looking for a 24th Masters title, will meet Federer on Sunday after the world number three saw off Paire, 24, in a tight encounter.

Paire broke Federer twice in the first set before losing the tie-break, with the Swiss just coming out on top in a tight second set.

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