Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open for the 12th time after saving a championship point in a to end Stefanos Tsitsipas' perfect record on clay this year in a thrilling final.

World number three Nadal, playing just his third tournament of the year, is gearing up for a tilt at a record-extending 14th French Open title.

By defeating the man who landed the Monte Carlo Masters title last week, Nadal showed he is moving through the gears on his favourite surface before heading to Paris.

He won 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 to maintain his 100 per cent record in finals at this tournament on home soil, but Tsitsipas was left to reflect on a missed opportunity after the 20-time grand slam champion fended off a championship point at 5-4 in the final set.

Nadal trailed 4-2 in the opening set as Tsitsipas signalled he was up for the challenge and brimming with confidence, but back came the 34-year-old to sweep up the next four games.

Tsitsipas broke first in the second set too, inching 2-1 in front, and the Greek looked every bit a warrior capable of living with the best for much of the contest.

It was a rout when these two met in the Barcelona final three years ago, Nadal dropping only three games, but here he needed to work far harder, in what was the 69th clay-court final of his stellar career.

Tsitsipas beat Nadal from two sets down in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February, so dropping the opener here was not cause for panic, but nor was gaining the early break in the second any reason to be confident he would be taking the match to a decider.

Nadal duly broke back but then let two championship points slip by in the 10th game, with Tsitsipas serving. A smash followed by a superb drop volley from Tsitsipas meant the match remained alive.

Tsitsipas could not convert 0-40 on Nadal's serve in the next game, but he won a thrilling tie-break to take the contest all the way.

There was not a solitary break point in the decider until Tsitsipas was a point away from claiming the title in the 10th game, but the King of Clay dug in to hold.

He rubbed salt in the wounds by securing the elusive break in the next game and dropped to the clay in delight after serving it out, ending a pulsating showdown that was finally settled in three hours and 38 minutes.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal each continued to advance in ATP Tour tournaments in their home countries on Friday.

Djokovic reached the semi-finals of the Serbia Open with a 6-1 6-3 defeat of fellow home hopeful Miomir Kecmanovic.

The world number one has looked at ease this week, after his return to action last week for the first time since the Australian Open saw a shock defeat to Dan Evans in Monte Carlo.

Djokovic will face Aslan Karatsev in the last four after the Russian saw off Gianluca Mager with a confident 6-3 6-4 win.

"I'm feeling very well on court, moving well, hitting the ball well and, of course, enjoying the home-court advantage," Djokovic said.

"So, I'm really excited to go out in the semi-finals on the court again tomorrow."

Having beaten Kecmanovic, who he said "has the potential to go far", Djokovic is the last remaining Serbian in the competition after Matteo Berrettini beat Filip Krajinovic.

Nadal, Djokovic's great rival, has also returned to form after dropping sets in consecutive matches earlier in the week.

His Barcelona Open progress was secured with a swift 6-1 6-4 quarter-final win over Cameron Norrie on Pista Rafa Nadal.

Nadal next takes on Pablo Carreno Busta after his 6-4 3-6 7-5 win over Diego Schwartzman, while second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas went through on the other side of the draw after a 6-3 6-3 win against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The semi-final opponent for Monte Carlo champion Tsitsipas will be the impressive teenager Jannik Sinner, though, rather than world number seven Andrey Rublev.

The 19-year-old Miami Open finalist won in straight sets against Rublev, breezing through the opener 6-2 and then fighting to see out the second 7-6 (8-6), saving a set point with the first of three consecutive points that sealed the match.

Rafael Nadal fended off Kei Nishikori to reach the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open along with the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday.

Top seed Nadal secured an opening-set bagel in just 30 minutes, but Nishikori hit back to force a decider before the 20-time grand slam champion prevailed 6-0 2-6 6-2.

Nishikori hit only three winners as he was blown away in the first set, but broke twice in the second to ensure Nadal was taken to three sets in back-to-back matches for the first time in this tournament – having overcome Ilya Ivashka in the second round.

The world number three saved three break points from 0-40 down in the final set and Nishikori saw another two come and go, with a more clinical Nadal breaking twice to advance.

Nadal will now face unseeded Brit Cameron Norrie, who also won the first set 6-0 and was 5-3 down to David Goffin in the second when the Belgian retired due to a leg injury.

Newly-crowned Monte Carlo Masters champion Tsitsipas defeated Alex de Minaur 7-5 6-3, stretching his straight-sets winning streak to seven matches.

Next up for the second seed is a meeting with Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-3, while Jannik Sinner beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (11-9) 6-2.

Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman and Pablo Carreno Busta also made it through.

Two seeds fell in the Serbia Open, with Federico Delbonis taking out Dusan Lajovic 6-3 2-6 6-4 and Taro Daniel defeating John Millman 3-6 6-2 6-3.

Gianluca Mager moved into the quarter-finals at the expense of Alexei Popyrin and Aslan Karatsev battled past Aljaz Bedene 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-5) in Belgrade.

Novak Djokovic thought he was "pretty flawless" in his first match of the Serbia Open, but Rafael Nadal was given a scare in his clash with qualifier Ilya Ivashka at the Barcelona Open.

World number one Djokovic suffered a shock third-round exit to Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters last week but ruthlessly dispatched Kwon Soon-woo 6-1 6-3 in his home city of Belgrade.

Djokovic broke his opponent five times to set up a meeting with eighth seed and fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who battled past qualifier Arthur Rinderknech in three sets, in the quarter-finals.

"I thought it was a pretty flawless performance," Djokovic said. "I moved well, I was mixing up the pace quite well, making him play. I served well in the important moments, [and] overall I just felt great."

On playing in front of his family and friends, the two-time Serbia Open champion added: "It gives you an extra push, an extra motivation, energy to really give your best and leave it all out on the court.

"I think also that made me feel comfortable and confident on the court and I played really good. I'm really pleased with the quality of tennis."

Second seed Matteo Berrettini defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-3 and will face either Filip Krajinovic or Nikola Milojevic in the last eight of the clay-court tournament.

Over in Barcelona, Nadal – an 11-time champion at the event – was out to make a statement after a rare defeat on the dirt to Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo.

But the 'King of Clay' needed two hours and 20 minutes to fight back against the unheralded Ivashka 3-6 6-2 6-4 to reach the round of 16, where he will face Kei Nishikori. Nadal is now 62-4 at a tournament where he once won 41 straight matches.

Second seed and Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas hammered Jaume Munar 6-0 6-2, while third seed Rublev - runner-up to the Greek on Sunday - joined Pablo Carreno Busta (6) and Alex De Minaur (14) in making it through.

Evans was unable to follow up his run in Monte Carlo with the 16th seed beaten by Corentin Moutet in a lengthy three-setter, while Fabio Fognini (9) was defaulted for unsportsmanlike conduct after verbally abusing a line official when trailing 6-4 4-4 to Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

Jannik Sinner set up a clash with Roberto Bautista Agut at the Barcelona Open as he vowed to keep making progress after cracking the top 20 for the first time.

Italian 19-year-old Sinner is a fast-rising new star of the men's game and now has a ranking to match his age. However, he was put in his place by Novak Djokovic last week in Monte Carlo, before the world number one was himself dealt a jolting defeat by Dan Evans.

Sinner sped past Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in the first round in Barcelona on Tuesday, winning 6-3 6-2, and it will be wily world number 11 Bautista Agut who stands in his way of going deeper into the tournament.

In two meetings on hard courts this season, Sinner has edged out 33-year-old Spaniard Bautista Agut in tight deciding sets, and now they face a reunion on clay.

"He lost in Dubai against me, he lost in Miami against me, now we play once more here, so it's quite a small period of time," said Sinner.

"We're playing now our third match already, so it's going to be a very tough match. He is very, very solid. I never played against him on clay. I'm trying to be ready in the best possible way."

Bautista Agut barged past fellow Spanish player Pablo Andujar, scoring a 6-4 6-0 win.

Sinner was proud to enter the ATP top 20 this week but sees it as just a step on his journey, saying: "Obviously it's a good number, but for me at the moment not that important."

He added, quoted on the ATP website: "[I'm] just trying to improve day after day with my team and trying to improve as a player and the ranking is what it is. I'm happy to be top 20 player but the road is long so a lot of work to do."

Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzo Musetti and Frances Tiafoe, who fought off 17-year-old Spanish prospect Carlos Alcaraz, were also among Tuesday's winners in Barcelona.

Star turn Djokovic begins his campaign at the Serbia Open on Wednesday when he tackles Kwon Soon-woo, with the 18-time grand slam winner having received a first-round bye.

Tuesday's play in Belgrade saw wins for, among others, Federico Delbonis, Aljaz Bedene and Miomir Kecmanovic.

Kei Nishikori's comeback surprised the former world number four, who survived a major scare to advance at the Barcelona Open.

Nishikori trailed 6-4 4-2 and was forced to break serve as Guido Pella attempted to close out the match in the second set, before sensationally rallying to a 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win on Monday.

A two-time champion at the ATP 500 tournament on the Barcelona clay, Nishikori broke serve on three occasions in the final set en route to the second round.

"He had the match today at 6-5, serving [for the match]," said Nishikori. "He was much better in the first and second [sets] and 3-0 up in the tie-break. I don't know how I fought through. [In the] third set, I was playing much better.

"I was making so many unforced errors in the first and second [sets]. Maybe he got a little bit tired and I was playing strong in the third set. I want to take that to the next round… The way I fought today and the way I played in the third set was good."

Next up for 2014 US Open finalist Nishikori is 13th seed Cristian Garin.

Ilya Ivashka topped Tallon Griekspoor 6-3 6-1 and the qualifier's reward is a showdown with top seed and 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal.

Cameron Norrie, Pablo Andujar, Jeremy Chardy, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jaume Munar, Federico Gaio, Egor Gerasimov and Bernabe Zapata Miralles all advanced to the last 32.

At the Serbia Open, seeds Filip Krajinovic and John Millman booked their spots in the round of 16.

With the ATP 250 tournament being staged for the first time since 2012 and headlined by world number one Novak Djokovic, Serbian fifth seed Krajinovic overcame Stefano Travaglia 7-5 5-7 6-3 in a Belgrade rollercoaster.

Millman – the Australian seventh seed – took down local wildcard Danilo Petrovic 7-5 6-4 as Marco Cecchinato and Nikola Milojevic won through.

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