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Sports

Nadal books place in Stuttgart Open final

Spain's Rafael Nadal has the chance to become the first dual-surface champion of the Stuttgart Open. That was after he made quick work of France's Gael Montils in his Saturday semifinal.

Former world number one Rafael Nadal may have slipped to tenth in the men's rankings, but he was far too strong for Gael Monfils, beating the French clay court specialist 6-3, 6-4.

Despite Monfils serving up 11 aces and earning four break points, Nadal needed less than ninety minutes to record the win and seal his place in Sunday's final. Coming off a clay-court season in which he failed to win a single title, Nadal hopes for better results on the grass of Wimbeldon, when the world's most prestigious tournament starts in just over two weeks.

"I'm happy with how I played and how I'm improving slowly on grass," Nadal told reporters after the match with Monfils. "It would be fantastic to win on grass here, but I can only focus on the final and try to play my best."

The Stuttgart Open used to be played on clay but switched over to grass this season to position itself as a Wimbeldon warm-up.Nadal will face eighth seed Viktor Troicki in the final. The Serb beat Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 n the other semifinal.

jc/rd (dpa, afp)

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