ATP Barcelona 2015 featured two semifinal matches on Saturday involving Kei Nishikori, Martin Klizan, David Ferrer, and Pablo Andujar. Sunday’s championship final is now set after one, and only one, of the semifinals produced an upset result.
Ferrer and Andujar, both representatives of Spain, met in the second match of the day on Saturday. Ferrer, who entered the contest 3-0 against Andujuar, was a sizeable favorite against his lesser known countryman. However in a surprising result it was Andujar that claimed victory with the line score ending at 7-6, 6-3.
With the appearance in the Barcelona final the current World No. 66 is perhaps beginning to turn his 2015 season around. Andujar, a former champion in Gstaad and Casablanca, has been a threat on clay in recent seasons however he had not done that much in any event so far in 2015. He entered Barcelona with just a 3-9 record in all ATP and Grand Slam events combined. But with the win against Ferrer, it appears as though Andujar is returning to form and he’s a very legitimate threat to challenge for the fourth round at the 2015 French Open.
But Andujar will next face a player that could very well challenge for the final at Roland Garros later this season. Kei Nishikori, the defending champion from Barcelona, crushed Martin Klizan in straight sets earlier today. The line score in the match was 6-1, 6-2 and it thrust Japan’s top player into the final of the 500-series event on Sunday.
For Nishikori the Barca final represents a chance to continue the momentum that he’s had since making the US Open final. Furthermore, if Nishikori protects the 500 ranking points he earned from winning the Barcelona title last season, he would keep himself in serious contention of grabbing the World No. 2 position in the months ahead.
For Andujar, a much lesser talent, the Barcelona final actually represents a career-match. The 29-year old has never made the final of a 500-series event or better as all of his championship match appearances have come at the 250-level.
But Nishikori and Andujar met on clay at the 2013 Madrid Masters and it was the Spaniard who pulled off the upset in the quarterfinal round. Should he pull off an upset again on Sunday then the World No. 66 would actually be in serious contention for a seed at Roland Garros in May.
All considered, Japan’s top player is at the peak of his game and it will likely take much-much more than Andujar to curb his results. Tennis fans would be smart to jump on Nishikori’s side now so you don’t look like a bandwagon jumper later.