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Nadal makes another final

RAFAEL Nadal beat Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-2 yesterday to reach his fifth straight Barcelona Open final.

The top-ranked Spaniard will take on either countryman David Ferrer or Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, who played later.

Nadal, who is the four-time defending champion here, has not dropped his serve throughout the tournament and saved all six of Davydenko's break points in windy conditions.

Davydenko hit too many unforced errors, often sending his backhand wide, as Nadal earned his 24th straight win on clay.

Nadal saved three break points in the first set and broke the ninth-ranked Russian twice.

In the second, Nadal broke to lead 3-1 and then saved three more break points in the next game as Davydenko went on the offensive. The ninth-ranked Russian wasted the first chance by hitting crosscourt backhand wide, then watched Nadal slice a perfect crosscourt shot onto the line to save the second before Davydenko hit wide again.

In Castellaneta Marina, Italy, Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone won their singles matches yesterday to give Italy a 2-0 lead against Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals.

Pennetta beat Anna Chakvetadze 6-4, 6-0, and Schiavone rallied to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 on the claycourts at Nova Yardinia tennis club.

Pennetta broke twice in the opening set, and lost only nine points in the second to close out the match in 67 minutes.

Schiavone put Italy in a great position to reach its third final in four years with her win.

In Brno, Czech Republic, Petra Kvitova defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the opening singles match yesterday to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead over the United States in their semifinals.

In the second singles match, Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic took on Alexa Glatch, also a Fed Cup rookie like Mattek-Sands.


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