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Home final for Rafael Nadal at Madrid Masters

Nadal on course to retain Madrid Masters title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Bautista

Madrid: World number one Rafael Nadal remained on course to retain his Madrid Masters title on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-3 semi-final victory over fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against Roberto Bautista Agut at the Madrid Masters. Pic/AFP.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion has now won 12 sets in a row in the Spanish capital as he looks for his first title of the European clay court season after suffering shock defeats in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open in recent weeks. And Nadal could have the chance to avenge his defeat to David Ferrer in Monte Carlo should the world number five overcome Kei Nishikori in Saturday’s other semi-final.

After breaking the Bautista Agut serve in the opening game, Nadal was pegged back after a sloppy service game of his own to allow the world number 45 to level at 3-3. However, the three-time champion in Madrid suddenly upped his intensity to take the next seven games to close out the first set and move a double break up in the second.

Bautista Agut showed some resistance to stave off two more break points to get himself on the board before breaking to close to within a game of Nadal at 4-3. Nadal, though, upped his level again to take the final two games to round off victory in an hour and 43 minutes.

Sharapova to face Halep
Maria Sharapova secured her place in the final of the Madrid Open for the second consecutive year with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 win over Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.

The four-time Grand Slam champion will face Romanian Simona Halep in today’s final as she ground out a hard-fought 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-2 victory over fifth seed Petra Kvitova.

Sharapova has slowly begun to hit form in recent weeks on her return to clay conditions after a difficult start to the year and she stormed through the opening set for the loss of just 11 points.

“We’ve not played for a really long time. She’s had such a great year and obviously she is the player to beat in the final,” said Sharapova. I’m looking forward to that matchup. No matter who I’m facing the toughest match is always the last one,” she added.

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