Tennis playdowns in the 2015 Madrid Masters continued on Saturday with four top ten players all gunning for the final. The clay court event, part of the build-up to the French Open, featured Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, and Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Following results from thos semis, Madrid will see a familiar player looking for another clay court title.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets 7-6, 6-1. It was a feat that Rafa had accomplished before as he improved to 19-4 over his Czech counterpart. Nadal now has a chance to inch closer to 30 Masters Series titles as he will look for his 28th on Sunday.
Rafa, who has not played his best tennis so far in 2015, could be facing a ranking slide in the not too distant future if he does not start putting big dents into draws. However perhaps Spain’s No. 1 is starting to regain his best form, something he has so often done at this time of year.
“For the past couple of days I have been playing better and better every day,” Nadal stated, referencing his improved play. “That’s always very good news. I am in the final. I am happy for that. I am enjoying a lot the fact that I am playing in front of an unbelievable crowd. For me, that’s the best crowd in the world without any doubt. So that gives me a lot of really positive energy.”
Nadal draws Andy Murray in the championship final, the Scot having defeated Kei Nishikori in the semis 6-3, 6-4. Murray, having won a clay court title in Munich last week, is perhaps a surprise finalist in Madrid. Doing well in back-to-back tournaments – in back-to-back weeks – is always difficult on tour and, in this case, that is especially true since clay is Murray’s weakest surface.
Nor surprisingly, on head-to-heads Nadal owns the clear advantage against the Scot. He’s defeated Murray in 15 of their 20 matches overall, a series that includes six matches on clay (Nadal 6, Murray 0).
Perhaps now is as good a time as any for Murray to break his clay-court goose-egg against Nadal however the Scot has to be tired following his efforts in the last two weeks. Look for Nadal to improve to 7-0 against Murray on clay and don’t be surprised if the Scot is a scratch, or an early exit, for next week’s Rome Masters.
The Madrid final, which promises to take a lot out of Murray, is scheduled for a 7pm start time in Madrid on Sunday night.