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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They battled like insane . "They murdered us that in first game with rebounds, but that was the first game of the season. When asked if he protested when he chose to sit him, Popovich said: "He'd rather play". "We just didn't have that pop".

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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