In the first seven editions of the Madrid Masters 1000 at Caja Mágica between 2009-15, Rafael Nadal was a finalist in six, winning consecutive titles in 2013 and 2014 and expecting another in 2015. In the semifinals, Rafa defeated a former finalist Tomas Berdych 7 -6, 6-1 in one hour and 44 minutes to extend the winning streak against the home crowd and beat the Czech for the second year in a row in the Spanish capital. That 2014 win was Nadal’s 17th straight over Berdych before the Czech beat him at the Australian Open in January 2015. Rafa returned to victory in Madrid, advancing to another Caja Mágica final and setting up the clash for the title against Andy Murray. Nadal lost just ten points on serve, never faced a break point and took the tiebreaker of the first set to command with authority in the second for his 14th consecutive victory at the Masters 1000 event at home. With just 45% service, Tomas stayed in contention in the early part of the clash, dropping the tiebreaker 7-3 and disappearing from the court after that, so many times against the top players. They had a similar number of winners, and Nadal made far fewer unforced errors, taking the lead in both the shorter and longer rallies to seal the deal in straight sets. The first break opportunities came in the seventh game when Berdych denied Nadal’s chance with an ace at 5-5 to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard. With no margin for error, Nadal held on to gain momentum heading into the tie break where he opened a 5-2 lead with two winners. The Spaniard landed another from his right to gain a 6-3 lead before Berdych added a forehand error 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 opportunity and advance 3-1, confirming the break with a winning serve and securing another game back after Berdych’s double fault. Serving for the win, the Spaniard hit two winners in the seventh game to move over the top and set up the title clash against Andy Murray.
Rafael Nadal on his participation in Tokyo
Rafael Nadal recently became the brand ambassador for Dutch brewery Amstel, who availed the Spaniard’s services to promote their non-alcoholic beer, among other drinks. Rafael Nadal said he was yet to make up his mind regarding his participation in Tokyo and that he would only be able to give a clear answer once he organizes his schedule. “Nowadays, one has to analyze things a little differently and I also have a different age,” Nadal explained. “I am 35 years old in a few days and the reality is that I also have to listen to my body. And the decision of the Olympics … Well, when the time comes, it will be decided. It is neither in doubt nor in no doubt. I am not clear about my tournaments on the circuit.”