Rafael Nadal left no doubt that he would be the overwhelming favourite at next month's French Open after crushing fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3 in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals on Saturday.
Nadal, gunning for a record sixth consecutive title in the glitzy principality, will face compatriot Fernando Verdasco or world number two Novak Djokovic of Serbia in Sunday's final.
The four-times French Open champion, who has not won an ATP title in the last 11 months, was again in a class of his own on the Monte Carlo clay.
After needing just 75 minutes to dismiss Ferrer, Nadal took the time to sign a few balls and fire them into the delighted crowd as the first sunbeams pierced through on a mostly cloudy day at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
The Mallorcan, who lost his first French Open match in the fourth round last year, lost the first game to love.
He then saved a break point in the second game before turning on the engine and racing to a 5-1 lead, with Ferrer unable to control his opponent's devastating forehand.
Nadal even seemed to feel sorry for Ferrer, apologising to his compatriot after clinching the sixth game with a delightful backhand lob.
Grunting in agony, Ferrer won the seventh game to love but conceded the opening set as he sent a backhand long.
The 11th seed smashed his racket onto his foot twice in frustration after he failed to capitalise on a Nadal weak moment in the second game of the second set.
Ferrer triggered a loud roar from the full capacity crowd when he broke back for 2-2, but the feat took too much out of the world number 17.
As the clock ticked onto the hour, Nadal reclaimed his advantage with a jaw-dropping forehand winner down the line. Ferrer flagged at that point, serving a couple of double faults in the seventh game to give the claycourt master a 5-2 lead.
In his final throes of agony, Ferrer pulled a break back but bowed out on his own serve, netting a routine forehand on the second match point.
Nadal gave his opponent a quick round of applause after throwing his headband into the stands where flamboyant former Renault Formula One team boss Flavio Briatore was sitting.