Rafael Nadal [ Images ] advanced to the final of the Mexican Open early on Saturday morning, beating fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-5 6-4 in a clay-court slugfest.
Second seed Nadal, who is on the comeback trail after missing seven months due to a knee injury, will face another Spaniard, three-times defending champion and top seed David Ferrer, in the final.
Ferrer defeated Italy's [ Images ] Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 earlier on Friday.
Almagro, the tournament's third seed and ranked 12th in the world, lost his serve just once in each set but that was enough for 11-time Grand Slam champion Nadal to secure a place in the final against Ferrer.
Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters