World No. 1 Rafael Nadal maintained his fine form on Friday afternoon and is now two matches away from a fourth Mutua Madrid Open title. Next for the Rafa is fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, whom he has never encountered on the professional tour.
Top seed Rafael Nadal thoroughly outclassed Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych, as he finished the straight sets contest in 88 minutes. While Berdych appeared to pile on the pressure in the opening six games, he went down a break in the seventh game and would never recover from there. Nadal would finish the contest 6-4, 6-2.
“It was a match with a lot of intensity, and perhaps it was my toughest match in the tournament,” said Nadal. “I knew that I had to go a step forward [level-wise]. I think that I did it pretty well. I played pretty well during a long time. To make it to the semi-finals for first time in the clay season, here in Madrid, is great news for me.”
Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo, 6-3, 6-4 in 87 minutes. It was an impressive win considering Giraldo was coming off victories over Tsonga and Andy Murray. He has now reached his fourth ATP World Tour semi-final, but this is his first ever Masters 1000 semi-final. He will move from No. 45 in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a career-high in the Top 30.
“I’m really happy for it being here in Madrid and [to make] it to the semi-finals, playing against one of the best players of history,” said Bautista Agut, the fourth unseeded Madrid semi-finalist in the past five years. “I am very happy for the current moment that I have, for the tennis that I am playing right now, and especially for being just well.”
This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and while Agut looked fantastic in his win over Giraldo, he is up against his toughest obstacle to date when he faces the clay court king in Madrid.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets