What's buzzing:

Giraldo to play Nishikori in Barcelona final

The Associated Press
Giraldo to play Nishikori in Barcelona final
.

View photo

Kei Nishikori of Japan, returns a shot from Roger Federer of Switzerland, at the Sony Open Tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 26, 2014 in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Santiago Giraldo of Colombia beat Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3 to reach the Barcelona Open final on Saturday, as his Spanish rival suffered a letdown after ousting top-ranked Rafael Nadal.

Giraldo will face fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan after he beat Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 6-4 in the other semifinal on the red outdoor clay.

Almagro slumped to his first loss in six meetings with Giraldo, a day after one of his biggest wins when he upset eight-time winner Nadal at the Real Club de Tenis.

''Yesterday's game doesn't serve as an excuse,'' Almagro said. ''Giraldo grazed perfection today, above all in the first set, and I couldn't find the answer.''

The unseeded Giraldo will be playing for his first career title on Sunday after he saved six of seven break points and finished the match with an emphatic ace.

''I have always dreamed of reaching the top spots of the ATP ranking and tomorrow is a first step,'' Giraldo said. ''But I am staying calm. I will keep to my routine and tomorrow will be a day to enjoy and play the best tennis I can.''

Giraldo prevailed in a match that featured several long rallies by proving more precise with his long groundstrokes.

The first set was heading for a tiebreaker until Giraldo snatched it away by breaking Almagro's last service game when he swatted a forehand return by the feet of the last year's finalist.

Almagro got an early break in the second set, but Giraldo won it right back and took control as Almagro's nerves frayed with the match slipping away.

''He believed more in his tennis, in how he had to play, and he barely made any mistakes,'' Almagro said. ''I committed errors when I could have gone in front. That was the key.''

Earlier, Nishikori's faster movement overcame Gulbis' big serve.

Down a set, ninth-seeded Gulbis saved seven break points in the second before finally ceding his serve and losing the match.

Nishikori will be seeking his second title of the season and fifth in his career.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (24)
  • Pochettino hails prodigious Son after winning strike

    (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has praised Son Heung-min for stepping up in Harry Kane's absence, adding that the forward "is on fire" after scoring the winner in Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League victory at CSKA Moscow. … More »

    Reuters - 3 minutes 29 seconds ago
  • Rookie Renfroe hits slam, 3-run HR; Padres beat Dodgers 7-1

    Rookie Renfroe hits slam, 3-run HR; Padres beat Dodgers 7-1

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Rookie Hunter Renfroe hit his first career grand slam and also had a three-run shot to drive in all the runs in the San Diego Padres' 7-1 victory against the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 29 minutes ago
  • Phillies' Howard set for final hacks at Turner Field

    No one is going to hate to see the Atlanta Braves leave Turner Field more than Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard likely will be in the lineup again Wednesday for the second game of the three-game set that will conclude the … More »

    AP - Sports - 17 minutes ago
  • Giants roll to stay 1 game up in WC race

    Giants roll to stay 1 game up in WC race

    Buster Posey's 1,000th hit came on a home run that bounced off the top of the wall and over. The fan who grabbed the souvenir ball gladly returned it, and Posey offered a bat in trade. Hunter Pence went deep one batter after Posey in the fifth … More »

    AP - Sports - 23 minutes ago
  • Ohio State wary of familiar Rutgers

    When the Ohio State coach watches the Rutgers defense, he'll see almost a carbon copy of the schemes that his team runs. Chris Ash was hired as Rutgers head coach in December after two years as Meyer's co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs … More »

    AP - Sports - 24 minutes ago