Madrid Masters: Nadal sees off Djokovic in semi-finals

Vincent De Villiers
Mai 14, 2017

"All in all, I did try my best".

He conceded only two break opportunities to Djokovic, who converted one early in the second set. "I knew that I had to play well".

"I'm in another final, it means a lot to me". I am happy the way I played today, being able to make it to the final once again. "I'm ready for tomorrow against a very tough opponent", said Nadal.

He missed two match points on his serve and then had to save a break point before taking the contest at the third time of asking to reach the Madrid final for the eighth time.Nadal will play either Austrian Dominic Thiem or Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in Sunday's final, where he will look to add to his recent triumphs in the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open. While Nadal's win over Djokovic would firmly put him in the driving seat for Roland Garros, leaving the World Number 2 with a lot of hard work in Rome in the coming week. Nadal finished with 20 winners (7 from the backhand) to 17 unforced. Djokovic leads the head-to-heads 26-24, but was simply brushed aside in the first set. Sure, Nadal was toting a 13-match clay-court winning streak into this semi.

"I tried my best".

Marko, 25, is also a tennis player, having peaked to a career-high ranking of No. 629 in July 2013. "He did whatever he wanted, especially in the first set". I felt like I was playing well throughout the week.

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"I'm enjoying competing well against all the opponents".

This was significant not only because it took Nadal to his sixth final of the year, nor that it was in front of his home crowd, but because he had turned around a long stretch of defeats to one of his biggest rivals-as big a confidence boost as he could want.

Meeting for the 50th time, the Spaniard had lost his previous seven meetings with Djokovic but continued his brilliant clay-court season to record a 14th successive win on the surface with his first triumph over the Serb since the 2014 French Open.

At last Djokovic got on the board, though he was pulled back from 40-0 to deuce, and made a small inroad into the Nadal serve to 30, but again the Spaniard reasserted his dominance, pounding from behind the baseline to both wings, and closing with a near ace, 5-1. And again, that Rafa backhand was just nasty.

At the ongoing Madrid Masters, the king of clay will have to battle past World No.2, Novak Djokovic in the semis on Saturday - a player Nadal has lost to on the last seven occasions that they have met. 'He deserved to win. "He was controlling the game from beginning to the end", said Djokovic.

"His quality was very high. He did get the better of me in most of the stats today, most of the shots". He broke Djokovic at love in the very first game, and it was off to the races. What's wrong with the guy who dominated the sport just a year ago, now hasn't even been to a final in four months (last 5 events).

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