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Rediff.com  » Sports » 500th win puts Nadal in Barcelona final

500th win puts Nadal in Barcelona final

April 23, 2011 22:50 IST

World number one Rafa Nadal notched up his 500th career win on Saturday and clinched a place in the Barcelona Open final by beating unseeded Croatian Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2.

The 24-year-old Nadal, who won his first ATP match in 2002, became the second-youngest player to reach the mark, behind former world number one Bjorn Borg, who was 23 years and seven months.

Nadal will play David Ferrer in Sunday's final after the fourth seed won the all-Spanish semi-final against Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4.

Spain's two leading players met in last Sunday's Monte Carlo Masters final when Nadal was victorious and he can stretch his unbeaten run on clay to 34 matches if he collects his sixth Barcelona title in seven years.

"(Five hundred wins) sounds a lot," Nadal told Spanish television.

"My career to date has been much better than I could ever have dreamed of.

"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," he added.

Earlier in the tournament, Dodig, the world number 56, had knocked out Robin Soderling, the last player to beat Nadal on clay back in 2009.

"The 6-3 6-2 in the semi-finals of a tournament as difficult as this is a little unreal," Nadal said.

"Ivan has played a very good tournament, he's had a spectacular start to the season. In reaching the semi-finals here he's beaten players of the highest level, so for me I'm particularly happy to be in the final.

"Ferrer is a friend and one of the most in-form players around at the moment," he added.

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