Madrid, May 12 (IANS) Spain’s Rafael Nadal will face Swiss Stanislaus Wawrinka in the final of the men’s competition of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis late Sunday after both won their respective semi-finals Saturday.
Nadal defeated unseeded Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, while 16th seed Wawrinka chalked up another surprise with a three-set victory over number six seed Tomas Berdych, reports Xinhua.
Perhaps overawed by what was by far the biggest match of his career, Andujar, who is ranked 113 in the world, was simply not in the match during the first set which Nadal took 6-0 without hardly breaking sweat.
However, in the second set, Andujar was able to steady his nerves and began to compete well against fifth seed Nadal, who was the highest ranked player in the last four.
The first eight games went with serve before Nadal struck in the ninth game to move 5-4 ahead and he then served out to win the match in one hour and 16 minutes which should leave him nice and fresh for Sunday’s final.
It is the 48th consecutive semifinal Nadal has won on beaten clay, highlighting just how much of a specialist he is on the surface.
“Making it to the final here in Madrid is a really big joy. Also being able to play with my crowd here in Madrid, it’s always something very special. And playing another final here, I think it’s really good news,” said Nadal after his win, before calling on the crowd in Madrid to help him in Sunday’s final.
“Hopefully the people will help me to achieve what for me would be nearly a dream to be able to win my second Masters 1000 that I have played this year after seven months without playing. it would be something really, really beautiful and it’s always special to do it at home,” he commented.
Nadal will take on No.16 seed Stanislaus Wawrinka, who defeated Berdych 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in one hour and 55 minutes.
Wawrinka’s quarter-final game had not finished until late on Friday night, but he showed few signs of tiredness in the first set, breaking the serve of the number six seed, who had also had a late finish, twice on his way to taking it 6-3.
Berdych fought back and took a tight second set 6-4 with a single service break, before then taking an early break in the decisive set as his more effective serve began to take its toll.
However, just when it looked as if Wawrinka was looking at the match slip away from him, he was able to find two more service breaks and ended up taking the set 6-4 to book his place in the final.
Nadal will be favourite for the final, not just because he is a clay court specialist and plays in front of his home crowd, but because he has had the advantage of playing all of his games at virtually the same time and on the same court, while Wawrinka didn’t finish until almost 10pm Saturday, while his match Friday night was not over until well after midnight.