The 2013 Brasil Open's original field of 32 is down to four men, including tournament favorite Rafael Nadal.
Nadal is joined by Martin Alund, Simone Bolelli and David Nalbandian in the semifinal stage. The 11-time Grand Slam champion is still looking to win his first tournament since last year's French Open, but will have an excellent opportunity to break through on clay this weekend with all seven of the tournament's other seeded challengers having already been knocked out.
So, which two players will be squaring off in Sunday's final in Sao Paulo?
Let's take a look.
(1) Rafael Nadal Over Martin Alund
The most recognizable star in Sao Paulo this weekend will be the tournament's top seed, Rafael Nadal, who should cruise past Argentine Martin Alund on Saturday.
Alund is a year older than Nadal and not even ranked inside the ATP Top 100. Nadal should win with relative ease, disposing of the South American challenger in straight sets. Anything closer than that on Rafa's favorite surface would certainly be surprising.
After falling short last week in Chile against Horacio Zeballos, Nadal won't be taking anything for granted in Saturday's semifinal. Look for a determined world No. 5 to come out with an unrivaled intensity from the opening serve.
With second-seeded Nicolas Almagro having gone out in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nadal knows that only two winnable matches stand in his way of winning his first tournament in over eight months.
Simone Bolelli Over David Nalbandian
After defeating world No. 11 Nicolas Almagro on Friday, momentum would suggest that veteran tennis star David Nalbandian is set to cruise into Sunday's final in Sao Paulo. But it must be noted that the 31-year-old Argentine needed three grueling sets to take down Almagro, meaning he won't be quite as fresh as his semifinal opponent, Simone Bolelli, on Saturday.
Bolelli, the current world No. 80 in the ATP Top 100, took out No. 15 Juan Monaco in the second round of the 2013 Brasil Open earlier this week, defeating him in straight sets.
The higher-ranked Italian is also four years younger than Nalbandian, who is nearing the twilight of his tennis career.
Although it wouldn't be a shock if Nalbandian won in a hard-fought three-setter, Bolelli should be considered the favorite in this semifinal clash, and I like him to advance to the men's final on Sunday in Sao Paulo, where he'll look to give Nadal a run for his money.
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