Nalbandian, Ferrer into Auckland tennis final

David Ferrer will play David Nalbandian in the final of the

Heineken Open after both won their semifinals on Friday in straight

sets.

Top-seeded Ferrer of Spain beat unseeded Santiago Giraldo of

Colombia 6-3, 7-5 to progress to Saturday’s final.

Nalbandian, of Argentina, beat Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4,

6-2. The second-seeded Almagro, playing with a bandaged right index

finger, competed strongly in the first set until he needed a

medical time-out to get his right foot attended to by a courtside

trainer.

Ferrer and Nalbandian have played each other 11 times in their

careers, with Ferrer holding a 6-5 edge. The last four have all

gone the maximum number of sets, including a five-setter at the

2007 U.S. Open won by Ferrer on the way to the semifinals, his best

performance in a Grand Slam.

”Always when we play together, it’s a good match,” Nalbandian

said. ”It’s going to be the same as all the rest of the matches

we’ve played before. I will have to keep playing my way, at my best

level, to win.”

Both men play mostly from the baseline but are adept at coming

into the net when required.

Ferrer won the Auckland event four years ago.

”I have very good regards about 2007, it was the best year of

my career and the win here was very special for me,” Ferrer

said.