Rafael Nadal moved to within one win of a 10th Barcelona Open title on Saturday when he swept past Argentina's Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals of the clay court event. World No 5 Nadal, who captured a 10th Monte Carlo Masters last weekend, will face Dominic Thiem in the final after the Austrian stunned world No 1 Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. It was Thiem's first win over Murray.
Nadal had enjoyed a comfortable quarterfinal victory with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 win over Korean qualifier Hyeon Chung. The 14-time Grand Slam champion had to battle back from a break down in the first set to take it on a tiebreak before romping through the second. He had even tweeted before his semifinal match.
Andy Murray squeezed past Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a three-hour encounter on Friday and looked flat-footed as Thiem roared through the opening set with three breaks of serve in just over half an hour. The Scot had to stave off another break point in a marathon opening game to the second set. But he held on and then jumped at his chance to break for 5-3 before serving out to take the match to a decider.
Thiem had to battle back from a break down in the third, but constantly put pressure on the Murray serve and broke another three times in the deciding set to seal his place in the final.