Top seeds cruise into Madrid Open semis
Madrid, May 7
Rafael Nadal will face defending champion Andy Murray in the Madrid Masters semi-finals after extending his perfect start to the European clay-court season to 13 matches with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win over Joao Sousa on Friday.
Murray continued his serene passage into the last four by sweeping past eighth seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic also eased into the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 over 11th seed Milos Raonic. Nadal is looking to break Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas’s record for clay-court tournament wins with his 50th and a fifth title in Madrid this weekend.
However, to do so he will have to avenge Murray’s only ever victory over the 14-time Grand Slam champion on clay in last year’s Madrid final.
The Spaniard got off to a flying start as he took the first set for the loss of just 10 points. However, his momentum was disrupted as the match was delayed for the roof to be closed with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second.
Sousa won four of the next five games to level the match. Yet, the world No 35 let the pressure get to him when serving 3-4 down in the decider as a double fault handed Nadal the vital break and he served out to reach the last four.
Murray was far more at ease with the indoor conditions as he didn’t even face a break point for the second consecutive match to extend his winning record over Berdych to 8-6.
Djokovic remained on course for his fifth title of the season by extending his unbeaten record over Raonic to seven matches. The Serb set up a semi-final meeting with Kei Nishikori.
Japanese star Nishikori came from a set down to beat Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/1), 6-3. Nishikori had to wait until the fourth game of the final set to finally break the Kyrgios serve after the first two sets were shared in tie-breaks.