Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was taken to the limit by fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar before winning an extended third-set tiebreaker to advance to the final of the inaugural $1.3 million Rio Open.
Andujar, ranked 40th in the world, battled Nadal tooth-and-nail for two hours and 46 minutes before the 13-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (12-10) thriller on the red clay at Jockey Club Brasileiro.
Nadal fought off a pair of match points in the tiebreaker before finally putting Andujar away after the latter's last return landed into the net.
Second-seeded David Ferrer wasn't able to stave off an upset bid in the other semi, as Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov easily handled the World No. 4 in a 6-4, 6-4 verdict that halted Ferrer's eight-match winning streak.
Dolgopolov, ranked 54th in the world, will be aiming for his third career ATP singles title and first since winning the Citi Open in Washington in August of 2012. He is winless in four lifetime meetings with Nadal.
Sunday's winner will earn $316,400.