Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Rafael Nadal sets up semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic in Madrid

Rafael Nadal sets up semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic in Madrid

Ferrer will face Nishikori in the third round after the Japanese beat Diego Schwartzman 1-6 6-0 6-4.

Nadal is also familiar and likes to play on the clay court, the Fognini have four titles on clay till now.

The world No.29 mixed his game up more in the second set and took it from a shell-shocked Nadal to force a decider.

Krygios appeared to lose interest when the first set got away from him at 2-3 and Nadal took full advantage.

Meanwhile Nick Kyrgios remained on course for blockbuster third round clash with Rafael Nadal after easily seeing off Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-3.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion beat Spanish wildcard Nicolas Almagro 6-1 4-6 7-5 and plays Feliciano Lopez next.

The Serbian, who recently split from his long-term coach Marian Vajda, is on a quest to regain his best form again ahead of the French Open.

It is fair to say, then, that the crowds were packed in to see whether Nadal could keep up his campaign, but in the event, it was another match that had not only the fans but nearly an entire media centre gripped to the very last point. "So to win matches like this definitely helps confidence".

Djokovic won in Doha to start the season but never made it past the quarterfinals in the following four tournaments he played.

Nadal has made a storming start to the claycourt season, winning the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open for a record-extending 10th time last month.

"I'm not anxious about it", Nadal said. Then he lost three straight games to level things at 3-3, and some old-school sliding Djokovic defense came to the fore at all the crucial moments. "I need to be physically ready and mentally sharp".

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Kyrgios' best performance so far this year has been three semi-finals at Marseille, Mexican Open and the Miami Open.

23-year-old Thiem broke the Croatian in the seventh game of the second set and then routinely held his serve to close out the match.

"One break was enough, 5-4, 6-5, both sets". The Indian saved the only breakpoint he faced in the match and broke his opponent thrice. Bet: the victory of Rafael Nadal. The fifth-ranked Spaniard has won 22 of his last 24 sets.

"My attitude and the will to win today's match was there. My level of tennis was not so high today, but I managed to make it through".

Four-times victor Nadal twice bounced back to win the first set in a thrilling tiebreak.

Nishikori, a finalist in Madrid in 2014, is playing in his first tournament since March.

Asked about the state of his creaky right wrist, which forced him out of Barcelona, Nishikori offered a mixed message.

"I'm going to think about who I want in my team and I don't yet have anyone".

"I feel like (at) home here".

Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the Madrid Open Round of 16 Wednesday morning.

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