Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Novak Djokovic in semi-finals

CORRECTING SCORES Nicolas Almagro of Spain returns the ball during a Madrid Open tennis tournament match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in Madrid Spain Wednesday Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Novak Djokovic in semi-finals
Frederick Owens | 15 May, 2017, 04:15

Nadal had lost 15 straight sets against Djokovic and won only one of the last 12 matches against him in four years.

The second was a battle that took nearly an hour was an epic battle with both players locked at 2-2 before Nadal went ahead 4-2.

In the 50th meeting between the two, Nadal got off to a great start by winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic. The reason I bring this up is because Thiem is probably the second best clay courter who has played in these tournaments Nadal dominated, especially considering the recent lackluster performances from Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, and Nadal beat him handily both times.

Novak Djokovic was left disappointed in his bid to defend the Madrid Open title following his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the semi-final on 13 May.

Djokovic won the last meeting between the pair in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters exactly a year ago, and Nadal had not beaten the 12-time grand slam victor since the 2014 French Open final.

Cuevas will play ninth-ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria, who comfortably defeated lucky loser Borna Coric of Croatia 6-1, 6-4. Nadal long held the lead but had been passed during Djokovic's torrid stretch from 2015 through the first half of 2016. This might have come as a surprise to those who thought Djokovic would have a better day against Nadal.

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But Halep bounced back in emphatic fashion to win the last six games for the loss of just 14 points. Nadal is by far the best clay court player of all time, and he's dominated the surface in a way that no other player has dominated any other surface. The 31-year-old Uruguayan won four consecutive three-set matches to make the final four.

"It feels great, I don't know how I did it but I played ideal during the game and I'm very happy about it", Coric said. Nadal last won in Madrid in 2014.

"I knew I was playing well in the first set but I just couldn't take my chances".

Halep will face in-form Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who overcame Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), to make her third final of the season. Austrian saved 2 match points on serve in the 9th game of the second set but Rafa stayed focused and he brought the match home on own serve a few minutes later, but only after saving 4 break points.

Nadal, a four-time victor in the Spanish capital, will prove a much sterner examination following his stunning straight-sets success over holder Novak Djokovic. Nadal looked in complete control and went on to end his three-match losing streak on the red dirt to the Serb.

"I was just making lots of mistakes early in the rallies and trying to end points very quickly at the beginning, and the errors just kept piling up".

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