By Florian Heer
(April 12, 2014) CASABLANCA – The semifinalists took to the court on Saturday in Casablanca to battle it out for a place in Sunday’s final. World No. 36 Marcel Granollers, the highest ranked player left in the draw, faced sixth-seed Federico Delbonis for the second time. In the pair’s lone meeting in Gstaad last year it was the Spaniard who emerged victorious in straight sets. On Saturday it also seemed to become a pretty quick affair for the 28-year-old from Barcelona. Granollers was in total control of the opening set, as Delbonis simply hit too many unforced errors. Consequently, the Spaniard broke his opponent’s service three times to take the first set in the seventh game in only thirty minutes. The Argentine started to get into the match when he capitalized on his very first break point in the third game of the second set. Granollers, however, was the more consistent player gaining the break back in the eighth game to finally take the match two games later winning it 6-1, 6-4 in 74 minutes.
“I played a solid match today without any mistakes and also served well,” the winner told afterwards. “In the beginning of the second set Federico started to play better. It was tough, as he gained an early break and was 2-0 up. He was hitting very hard from the baseline but I kept fighting and I’m very happy to reach the final here,” Granollers added.
In the second semifinal eighth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-López took on the tournament’s surprise break out star Roberto Carballés-Baena for the first time. The latter became the first qualifier to reach the final in Casablanca since Gilles Simon defeated Andrey Kuznetsov in 2008. In the beginning of the encounter, the Spanish youngster seemed to be tired and exhausted after a long week and so Garcia-López was in total control in the opening set winning the frame in the eighth game. Yet, Carballés fought back, won some spectacular rallies and took the second set in the tie-break.
The crowd fully backed the underdog but in the end it was the more experienced player, who advanced into his first final of the season. The 30-year-old from Albacete broke serve in the seventh game and eventually took the match winning 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 after a classy clay court fight over two hours and 47 minutes. “It was an even match today,” a lucky winner stated afterwards. “Roberto played really well, in particular in the tie-break he played his best tennis. I was happy to close the match in the ninth game,” Garcia-López said and is looking forward to the final against his fellow countryman. The last meeting between the two took place in Casablanca in 2010. Back then, Garcia López won in straight sets. “Tomorrow will be a different match. The last time I met Marcel here was in one of the opening rounds and now it will be a final,” the Spaniard said. “Marcel didn’t have a great start into the season but now with beginning of the clay court season, he plays really well. He will be very dangerous tomorrow and I have to play my best tennis,” Garcia-López explained.
Earlier on Saturday, top-seeds Horia Tecau and Jean-Julier Rojer took their third team title beating Tomasz Bednarek and Lukas Dlouhy 6-2, 6-2 in only 56 minutes. The Romanian-Dutch combination didn’t drop a set this week. “Besides my home tournament in Bucharest, this event here in Casablanca is the one I played most on the ATP Tour,” Tecau said after lifting his third trophy in Morocco. “Casablanca is a special place, where I am pretty successful and I’m very familiar with everything here. It’s always a cosy feeling to come back,” the Romanian told the press.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 12 APRIL 2014
Singles – Semi-finals
 M Granollers (ESP) d  F Delbonis (ARG) 61 64
 G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d [Q] R Carballes Baena (ESP) 62 67(6) 64
Doubles – Final
 J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU) d T Bednarek (POL) / L Dlouhy (CZE) 62 62
SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 13 APRIL 2014
COURT CENTRAL start 2:25 pm
 M Granollers (ESP) vs  G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)