Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Madrid Open: Djokovic, Nadal fight on as Wawrinka bows out


The Madrid Open started their rivalry, with the Spanish crowd witnessing an engrossing semi-final in 2009 lasting over four hours which Nadal won after saving three match points.

Rafa Nadal set up an intriguing Madrid Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic by overcoming Belgian David Goffin 7-6 (3) 6-2 in a high-quality last-eight match on Friday. Doubles: First round: Fabrice Martin & Daniel Nestor bt Rohan Bopanna & Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal didn't convert any of his six break point chances in the first set but had no problems in the tie-break to take the opener. Tomas Berdych, the 11 seed, also progressed into the third round following a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win against Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

In 20 games this year the Serb scored 16 victories and conceded 4 times, for comparison in the last three seasons he suffered 8, 6 and 9 defeats, winning more than 60 times.

A nice backhand down the line ensured Kyrgios saved a second set point, but Nadal served out the opener to love, and his opponent was visibly deflated.

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Djokovic has won the last seven meetings between but Nadal paid tribute to a great rivalry despite the damage the 12-time Grand Slam champion has done to him in the past.

A finalist in Madrid in 2014, Nishikori lost his last 10 matches against Djokovic, including in the semifinals in Madrid previous year.

However, the two haven't met for almost a year during which time Djokovic's form has dramatically dipped.

In his first match since changing his coaching team in an attempt to change fortunes following a hard start to the year, Djokovic was taken to three sets by Spain's Nicolas Almagro in a match which lasted for two and a quarter hours.

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.

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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. "I want to stay positive".

Fognini played aggressively, however, and forced Nadal on to the defensive as he took the match into a deciding set.

Nadal is looking all set for the French Open by winning Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open on claycourts.

It marked Goffin's 27th win of the year-having made the finals in Sofia and Rotterdam plus the semis in Monte-Carlo already-and his eighth top-10 victory.

In the women's draw, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada advanced to the quarterfinals after top-seeded Angelique Kerber retired with a left thigh injury in the second set.

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