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Rafael Nadal wins back-to-back matches in straight sets to reach Barcelona Open semifinals


Rafael Nadal of Spain looks the ball against Carlos Berlocq, from Argentina, during the Barcelona open tennis in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Nadal won 6-4, 6-2. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) (The Associated Press)

Seven-time winner Rafael Nadal won back-to-back matches to advance to the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Friday.

After rain forced several third-round matches to be pushed back, Nadal started the day by beating Benoit Paire of France 7-6 (2), 6-2. The fifth-ranked Spaniard then defeated Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-0 after his overmatched opponent had defeated Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 7-6 (4) earlier in the day.

Nadal has won 37 straight matches on the Real Club de Tenis' red clay and is on course to make his sixth straight final this year after returning from a seven-month injury layoff.

He will face either Milos Raonic or Tommy Robredo on Saturday.