SAO PAULO – Rafael Nadal outlasted 111th-ranked Martin Alund 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-1 at the Brazil Open on Saturday to reach his second straight final after a long layoff to treat his left knee.
Nadal next plays David Nalbandian, the former world No. 3 who defeated Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-3, 7-5 to make it to his first final since being disqualified for injuring a line judge at Queen's Club last year.
Still looking for his rhythm and working his way into match shape, Nadal lost six straight points in the tiebreaker in the second set, but dominated the third to advance.
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David Nalbandian reached his first final since being disqualified for injuring a line judge at Queen's Club last year, beating Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-3, 7-5 in the Brazil Open on Saturday.
Nalbandian broke Bolelli just two games into the match and easily took the first set, then rallied from 3-1 down in the second at Ibirapuera arena.
The former world No. 3, now ranked 93, converted all five break points he had in the indoor clay-court match in South America's biggest city.
"I started playing well, very solid," Nalbandian said. "I lost a bit of focus and it became another difficult match, but fortunately I was able to come through with the victory."
He will face either top-seeded Rafael Nadal or Martin Alund of Argentina.
Seeking his 12th career title and first since 2010, Nalbandian hadn't made it to an ATP final since his disqualification for kicking an advertisement board and injuring a line judge during the grass-court tournament in London last June.
He vehemently complained of a call that went against him early in the second set on Saturday, getting the tournament official involved in the discussion before eventually settling down.
The 31-year-old Nalbandian is making his season debut in singles at the Brazil Open. He was out of action for several months last season because of an abdominal injury and withdrew from the doubles in Brazil because Nadal, his partner, decided to rest his injured knee.
"I'm glad to be back playing at a top level again and it's good to make it to another final," Nalbandian said.
He eliminated two-time defending Brazil Open champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain in the quarterfinals.
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