Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Nadal crushes Djokovic to reach Madrid final

Nadal crushes Djokovic to reach Madrid final

Rafael Nadal ended a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic in emphatic fashion by thrashing the world number two 6-2 6-4 on Saturday to reach the final of the Madrid Open and move within a step of a third consecutive clay-court title.The Spaniard and four-time victor in Madrid got off to a dream start in the 50th meeting between the two great rivals, winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic, with the home crowd wildly celebrating his first point - a potent return which the Serbian could only hit into the ground.

The Spaniard, 30, won 6-2 6-4 to claim his first victory over the Serb since the 2014 French Open final.

Indeed, the last time Nadal got the best of Djokovic was in the final at Roland Garros three years ago, before losing the subsequent seven meetings.

If Nadal wins Madrid, he will win for a third straight week. "I haven't had that feeling in months, so it's great to feel that", he said. It's just the titles that you have won. "I'm happy to be in the final, even though Novak wasn't at his best", said Nadal on Sky Sports.

Rafael Nadal won the first set against Novak Djokovic 6-2. "It means the world to me to make it to another final here in Madrid".

A brilliant Nadal point sealed the first set, ending Djokovic's run of 15 successive sets in matches with the Spaniard. Just his quality was very high.

Djokovic reaches Madrid semifinals
World number one Andy Murrays slump in form continued as he crashed out of the Madrid Masters third round 6-3, 6-3 to Borna Coric. Djokovic hasn't made it this deep into any event since winning the title in Doha at the beginning of the year.

Djokovic advanced to the semi after injury forced quarter-final opponent Kei Nishikori to withdraw before their clash, but a lack of match-readiness appeared to inhibit the Serb instead of rejuvenating him.

Clay has always produced the best in Nadal, and Saturday's semi-final was no different as he advanced to Sunday's decider in far more comfortable a fashion than just about anyone will have predicted.

Djokovic earned his first break point of the match in the 12th game and he took the opportunity to draw level at 2-2 but Nadal was in a ruthless mood and hit back immediately with another break to regain a lead he would not relinquish.

With Cristiano Ronaldo and Olympic great Nadia Comaneci watching courtside, Nadal was aggressive from the start, and had 20 winners, including seven off his backhand.

Two match points came and went and Nadal had to save a break point on his own serve before he closed out the match.

There is every chance Djokovic will finish third or fourth best in the world at the end of 2017, a year that is rapidly becoming a joust between Federer and Nadal to topple Andy Murray from the summit of the game.

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