Nadal Thrashes Djokovic in Madrid Open Semifinals

by John on May 13, 2017

Rafael Nadal captured his first win over Novak Djokovic since the 2014 French Open final, beating the second-seeded Serb 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open earlier today. Nadal played with ruthless aggression and purpose on the red clay at the Caja Magica, particularly in the first set, ending a string of seven straight losses to Djokovic. The win was Nadal’s 14th in a row, all on clay, and improved his career mark to 24-26 against Djokovic. Rafa won at Monte Carlo and Barcelona last month and is now 33-5 on the season. Djokovic scarcely knew what hit him at the start as Nadal opened at a blistering pace. The Serb was broken in his first two service games, winning but one point, and quickly fell behind 4-0. Nadal, seeded No. 4, was crunching his ground strokes, opening up the court for sizzling winners, and serving impeccably. Djokovic had no chance, although he did salvage two service holds to make the scoreline a little more respectable in the opening set. Nadal broke at the start of the second set to keep his momentum going, but it was soon apparent that Djokovic was not going to go away. Nole was up 30-15 on Nadal’s serve in the second game and but for an absurd no-look, backhand overhead smash by the Spaniard would have had his first break point opportunity of the match. Djokovic did break through in the fourth game, but was immediately broken back. The Serb held a break point on Nadal in the 10th game, but Rafa erased it and took the game and match on his third match point. “I think I played a really good first set. The second set I was a little bit more nervous,” Nadal said. “I played a little bit shorter. I think then the match was more even. Finally I managed to win it. It’s a very important victory. It gives me the possibility to play another final and to continue in a positive line. I am happy the way I played today, being able to make it to the final once again. I’ll try to be 100 per cent and ready for tomorrow’s match.” Nadal will play either Dominic Thiem or Pablo Cuevas in Sunday’s final. The Spaniard has won the Madrid title, four times (2005, 2010 and 2013-14). Nadal hit 20 winners to 18 for Djokovic, and won 78 percent of the points on his first serve. Djokovic won 56 percent of his first serves. Nadal saved one of two break points, Djokovic two of six. “Rafa was obviously a better player today,” Djokovic said. “He deserved to win. He was controlling the match from beginning to the end. All in all, I did try my best. It wasn’t a very high quality of tennis from my side. I made a lot of unforced errors, especially in the first set.”

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