Top seeded Spanish star Rafael Nadal qualified for the final of the Madrid Open after defeating second seed Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-finals.
It was also a 14th straight victory on clay this season with Nadal back to his very best on his favourite surface in reaching a sixth final of the year.
The Spaniard, a four-time Madrid champion, broke the Djokovic serve twice early in the opening set to take a 4-0 lead with barely 20 minutes played.
Even then, having opened up a 40-0 lead he allowed Nadal back into the game before eventually getting himself on the scoreboard with a simple forehand victor. Not to mention the smackdown Nadal gave Djokovic yesterday, beating him 6-2, 6-4 in a match where Nadal dictated play the entire time.
World number one Andy Murray crashed out 6-3 6-3 in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday to 20-year-old Borna Coric as his hard start to the clay court season continued. In 2017, Rafa won two trophies, plus lost three times in the finals, so that the Madrid duel will be for him 6 fight for the title of the season. "It's true that some matches are more important than others", Livetennis.com quoted Nadal as saying.
"I'm just going to go along, and in the next three, four weeks maximum, I'll make my decisions around that, about the team", Djokovic said. "I was trying my best", Djokovic said.
"I feel great. It means a lot to play my first final at this level".
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Djokovic, playing his first tournament since parting company with his long-serving coaching staff, was unable to live with an in-form fourth seed who is his firing on all cylinders ahead of the French Open. In a much talked about match, Kyrgios was expected to make a few inroads into the Spaniard's game having defeated him once earlier. Novak saved a set point in game 7 but Nadal was just too good on his serve, delivering the opener with another easy hold in game 8 for a 6-2.
World No. 59 Coric, who won his first ATP title last month in the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, took the second break point to serve out for the match, sending last year's finalist and two-time Madrid victor Murray packing.
"I definitely think I need to be concerned about today", Murray said.
Sharapova returns to the event for the first time since returning from a 15-month doping ban.
"I did try my best", Djokovic said.
Nadal wasn't to be denied, though, as he broke once more and served out to seal victory after exactly two hours on court. He lost to Goffin in the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo, his first clay tournament of the season. Also it's going to help me in my ranking. The Serbian did not get one sniff of a breakpoint, and although he had a higher first serve percentage that Nadal (67%: 61%) his points won off his second serve was pretty woeful - just 22%.
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