Result: Rafael Nadal overcomes Fabio Fognini to book semi-final spot in Barcelona

Fabio Fognini is unable to match his feat of last year as he slips to a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Rafael Nadal in the Barcelona Open.

Rafael Nadal has overcome a potentially difficult meeting with countryman Fabio Fognini to book his place in the semi-final of the Barcelona Open.

The Spaniard, aiming to win back-to-back clay-court titles after success in Monte Carlo last week, came out on top in straight sets this evening to keep his hopes alive on home soil.

Rafael Nadal serves against Fabio Fognini during day five of the Barcelona Open on April 22, 2016© Getty Images

Nadal broke his opponent's serve on two occasions in the opening four games to storm ahead and, a prolonged eighth game aside, it was easy going for the world number five.

Fognini knocked his opponent out of this tournament 12 months ago, and he just about kept his hopes alive in the second by forcing a tie-break.

Having wasted one match point, Nadal was able to secure a simple enough 6-2 7-6(1) victory to set up a meeting with either Andrey Kuznetsov or Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final four.

The mighty Rafael Nadal in action at the Barcelona Open on April 20, 2016
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