Andy Murray became the latest big name to fall at the Madrid Masters as he was beaten by sixth seed Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in the quarter-finals on Friday.
The World No 3 paid for his gruelling encounter Gilles Simon less than 24 hours earlier as he lacked the requisite energy to cope with the Czech who moves on to face either Jo-Wilfred Tsonga or Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-finals.
Murray’s defeat means that all three top seeds have been knocked out after the earlier dismissals of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The Czech, who made the final in Madrid last year, edged a tight first set on a tie-break when US Open and Olympic champion Murray floated a backhand wide.
Breaks were then exchanged to start the second, but Berdych struck the crucial blow when he broke for 3-2 and then served out to continue his 100% record against Murray on clay.
And the Scot felt missing his opportunities to take the first set had been symptomatic of his week as a whole. “It’s frustrating, I didn’t convert too many opportunities the whole week and managed to dig out a couple of matches the last couple of days, but obviously I couldn’t do that tonight so I need to do a better job of taking my chances,” said Murray.
Berdych though was delighted with how he had served against one of the games' best returners. “When my serve is working my game gets better and better and that is what I need to focus on. The other thing is was even more happy and satisfied with it that Andy looks to attack the second serve and I was able to handle that.”
Nadal cruises into the final
Rafael Nadal cruised into his seventh consecutive final since returning from a seven-month injury layoff as he beat compatriot Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4 on Saturday. The 11-time Grand Slam champion will face Tomas Berdych or Stanislas Wawrinka in the final today.