Madrid - Rafael Nadal will aim to keep his unbeaten start to the clay season
going when he meets Novak Djokovic for a 50th time in the Madrid Masters
semi-finals on Saturday.
Nadal is now 13-0 on clay this year as
he swept aside Belgian ninth seed David Goffin 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 much to
the delight a boisterous home crowd under the roof on the Manolo Santana
Djokovic had an even easier day as he moved into
the last four without hitting a ball on Friday as Kei Nishikori withdrew
with a wrist injury.
The Serb has a marginal 26-23 head-to-head record against Nadal.
However, the two haven't met for nearly a year during which time Djokovic's form has dramatically dipped.
"It's going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in the history of the sport," insisted Nadal.
been playing at a high level for many weeks, but I know tomorrow is a
day when either I'll have to play really well or I'm not going to have
Nadal eased past Goffin 6-3, 6-1 in their only
previous meeting on his way to winning the Monte Carlo Masters last
month before also lifting a 10th Barcelona Open.
And only poor
returning on his break point opportunities denied Nadal just as
convincing a scoreline as the Spaniard took only two of his 14 chances.
14-time Grand Slam champion had break points in the fourth and sixth
game of the first set, but had to settle for breaking Goffin's resolve
in a tie-break.
Nadal finally broke in the third game of the
second set before having to stave off four break points on his own serve
to consolidate his lead at 3-1.
The level of play from both
players rose in a remarkable game with Goffin serving at 2-4 down as he
kept Nadal at bay despite facing four break points, including one
incredible cross-court backhand as he ran back to the baseline after
Nadal wasn't to be denied, though, as he broke once more and served out to seal victory after exactly two hours on court.
the other side of the draw Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas advanced to his first
ever Masters series semi-final by outlasting German wonder kid
Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.
The Uruguayan will face Dominic
Thiem in the semi-finals after the Austrian swept aside Andy Murray's
conqueror Borna Coric 6-1, 6-4.
the Women's Madrid Open, defending champion Simona Halep cruised back
into the final for the third time in four years with a 6-2, 6-3 success
over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.
"I heard that I am the first player who does three finals here this tournament," said Halep.
"I feel like (at) home here.
"The crowd is supporting me all the time. The courts fit me. I feel that the altitude is helping me also."
The Romanian reeled off five straight games to close out the opening set.
Sevastova hinted at a fightback early in the second as she got out to a 3-0 lead.
But Halep bounced back in emphatic fashion to win the last six games for the loss of just 14 points.
will face in-form Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who overcame
Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), to make her third final of the
Results from the ATP Madrid Masters/WTA Madrid Open on Friday (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x6) - retired
Pablo Cuevas (URU) bt Alexander Zverev (GER) 3-6, 6-0, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt David Goffin (BEL x9) 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
Dominic Thiem (AUT x8) bt Borna Coric (CRO) 6-1, 6-4
Simona Halep (ROM x3) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-2, 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x14) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x8) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)