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Nadal Gets Early Night Over Chardy in VTR Open Semis

Rafael Nadal had an easier than expected berth into the finals of the VTR Open as he notched a straight sets win over Jeremy Chardy.

By Erik Gudris

Rafael Nadal (February 9th, 2013) -- In a match long on expectations but short on execution from one participant, Rafael Nadal eased into his first ATP final since Roland Garros last year at the VTR Open in Vina Del Mar, Chile.

In the late night semifinal played in front of yet another sellout crowd, this match was more about Nadal's opponent, No. 3 seed Jeremy Chardy, than the 11-time Major champion. While Chardy may have impressed many during his recent run to the Australian Open quarterfinals, tonight the World No. 26 looked rather average right form the start when he surrendered an early break of serve to Nadal.

Though Nadal served up three double faults in his opening service game, Chardy couldn't take advantage of his multiple break point chances. That allowed Nadal to hold his serve and then earn yet another break for a 3-0 lead thanks to a plethora of errors from Chardy.

Chardy could never find the rhythm on his favored forehand side that found him either hitting long or wide when the ball found its way there. Nadal soon climbed to a 5-2 lead and then closed out the set with a smash winner.

Though Chardy held easily to open the second set, it was yet another shanked forehand later on that gave Nadal a break of serve for 2-1. Later at 3-2, Chardy upped his aggression and soon found himself up 0-40 on Nadal's serve. But again it was series of mistimed shots from the Frenchman's racquet that allowed Nadal back into the game and eventually hold for 4-2.

Nadal didn't look back from there as he served for the match at 5-2. Though he missed out on his first match point, an ace hit out wide on his second match point secured the 6-2, 6-2 win.

Nadal will now face off against Argentina's Horacio Zeballos in tomorrow's finals. Zeballos defeated fellow Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach his first ATP final since St. Petersburg in 2009.

Nadal will also contend for the doubles title with Juan Monaco when the pair meet Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace later in the evening.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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