In 2015, the Caja Mágica de Madrid hosted the Masters 1000 clay court event for the seventh time, with all the top finishers reaching the fourth place except for the Swiss duo of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. Two-time champion Rafael Nadal was among the favorites again, advancing to the Caja Mágica’s sixth semifinal thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Grigor Dimitrov in one hour and 48 minutes. It was his sixth game for him and the sixth win for the Spaniard, who dominated his shots more efficiently than the Bulgarian in front of his audience. Rafa had the upper hand in both the shorter and longer rallies, breaking Grigor’s resistance and sealing the deal in straight sets. Nadal delivered his serve twice, but that couldn’t hurt his plans after taking half the return points and securing five breaks of 15 chances to advance to the last four and stay on track for the third straight title against the Spanish fans. Grigor had to work hard from game one, fending off three break opportunities to avoid an early setback before Nadal broke it in the third game with an incredible cross backhand that sent him 2-1 up front. Suddenly, Dimitrov broke to return to the positive side of the scoreboard, only to add a forehand error in the next game and deliver serve for the second time in a row. Rafa fended off break opportunities to cement the lead and advance 4-2 up front, converting the third set point with the return at 5-3 to take the first set in 50 minutes.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic seem to be in great form
Rafael Nadal’s alternate coach Francisco Roig believes that the Spaniard needs to iron out a few flaws in his game before the French Open. Roig also showered rich praise on Dominic Thiem, and claimed that the Austrian would be as big a threat in Paris as Novak Djokovic if he manages to regain his form. “Looking ahead to Roland Garros, I think a little more mobility is important,” Roig said. “At the level of aerobic capacity, he has been very good, holding out in games, but I think we have room for improvement when moving. It can still be a more dynamic point, both forward and in lateral mobility. And the serve must also be worked on, although it has gotten better and better,” he added. “In fact, against Djokovic he was already pretty good. Novak Djokovic is still the rival, perhaps, who can cause more problems, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem,” Roig said. In an interview with a Spanish portal, Corretja, who finished with 17 career ATP Tour titles, said he sees Nadal carrying on for at least another couple of years. Asked on the priceless moment during the Madrid Open when the 13-time French Open champion posed for pictures with teen tennis star Carlos Alcaraz, the former star said it was akin to receiving one’s “letter of introduction in Spain.”