ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Rafael Nadal topples Tomas Berdych to set title clash

In the first seven editions of the Madrid Masters 1000 event at Caja Magica between 2009-15, Rafael Nadal was the finalist in six, winning back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 and hoping for another in 2015. In the semis, Rafa took down a former finalist Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 44 minutes to extend the winning streak in front of the home fans and beat the Czech for the second straight year in the Spanish capital. That 2014 triumph was Nadal’s 17th consecutive over Berdych before the Czech beat him at the Australian Open in January 2015. Rafa got back on the winning course in Madrid, advancing into another Caja Magica final and setting the title clash against Andy Murray.

Nadal lost only ten points behind the initial shot, never facing a break point and taking the opening set tie break before racing towards the finish line in the second for his 14th straight victory at the home Masters 1000 event. Serving at only 45%, Tomas remained in contention in the first part of the clash, dropping the breaker 7-3 and fading from the court after that, as many times against the players from the top. They had a similar number of winners, and Nadal committed far fewer unforced errors, having the upper hand in both the shortest and more extended rallies to seal the deal in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych for his sixth Caja Magica final in 2015.

The first break chances came in the seventh game when Berdych denied Nadal’s opportunity with an ace before firing a service winner at 5-5 to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard. With no room for errors, Nadal held at love to gain momentum ahead of the tie break where he opened a 5-2 advantage with two winners. The Spaniard fired another from his forehand to earn a 6-3 lead before Berdych sprayed a forehand mistake to hand the set to Nadal after 61 minutes. Leading 2-1 in set number two, Rafa forced Tomas’ error to convert the third break chance and move 3-1 up, confirming the break with a service winner and securing another return game after Berdych’s double fault. Serving for the triumph, the Spaniard hit two winners in the seventh game to move over the top and set the title clash against Andy Murray. 

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