Nadal in final, Murray out

Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic celebrates his 7-6, 6-4 win over Scotland’s Andy Murray in the Madrid Open quarter-finals—

Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic celebrates his 7-6, 6-4 win over Scotland’s Andy Murray in the Madrid Open quarter-finals—

Madrid, May 11: Rafael Nadal reached his seventh consecutive final since returning from a knee injury by brushing aside wild-card entry Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4 at the Madrid Open Saturday.

Nadal had little trouble extending his winning streak in clay-court semi-finals to 46 matches, polishing off his overmatched countryman after winning the first six games on the outdoor red clay.
Nadal will now have a shot at his fifth title since coming back from seven-month layoff healing his left knee.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better run of results,” said Nadal, a two-time champion in the Spanish capital. “Five months ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of this return. I want to thank all those who supported me through that time.”
The Spaniard will play the winner between Tomas Berdych and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Nadal dominated the outclassed Andujar at the start.
The clay-court expert’s surgical groundstrokes were usually enough to force Andujar to make errors — and if not, Nadal knew when to go for a winner or approach the net to finish off the point.
The worst moment for the 113th-ranked Andujar came when he ceded his third straight service game with a double fault.
But in the second set Andujar shook off his jitters and had three break points for a 4-2 lead, only for Nadal to dig out of the hole and hold his serve.
“I played a very, very good first set, playing aggressively,” Nadal said. “Pablo played more aggressively in the second set and had a chance at a break, but luckily it got away from him.”
Andujar continued to prove feisty, but Nadal hit a winner to set up a break point for 5-4 that he converted when Andujar’s drop shot fell short.
Earlier in the quarter-finals on Friday, third-seeded Andy Murray never found his stride and lost 7-6 (3), 6-4 to Berdych.
Berdych jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set tiebreaker before closing it out when Murray landed a backhand just wide.
Murray, who won the tournament on hard courts in 2008, fell to the Czech in just over two hours after Berdych’s deep drive forced him to miss for a last time.
“He played a better tiebreak(er) than me and then in the second set I had chances,” Murray said. “That’s frustrating. I didn’t convert a lot of opportunities all week but was able to dig out the previous matches.”
Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland will meet Berdych in the semi-finals after he outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-7 (9), 6-4.

Serena to face sharapova
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will play for both the no. 1 ranking and the Madrid Open title after both won their semi-finals in straight sets on Saturday.
The top-ranked Serena will have a chance to win her 50th career title after beating Sara Errani of Italy 7-5, 6-2, while no. 2 Sharapova recorded her 500th career win at all levels after seeing off Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3.
Sharapova has won all 10 sets she has played on Madrid’s outdoor red clay court. Serena, however, boasts a 12-2 record against the Russian.
After a skittish start, Serena dominated Errani and broke her final service game in both sets.
“I feel I played solid,” Serena said. “In the second set more than in the first, I made a few less errors, which is something I needed to do.”
The defending champion improved to 5-0 against the seventh-ranked Errani and to 30-2 overall this year.
Serena said Sharapova would pose a difficult challenge.

Curtains for indian players
India’s challenge at the Madrid Open ended with a straight-set defeat of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna at the hands of unseeded team of Jeremy Chardy and Lukas Kubot.
An off-colour Indian team squandered all the six points it earned in the second set to suffer a 2-6, 4-6 defeat against the French-Polish combo in the quarter-finals.
Leander Paes and his Austrian partner Jurgen Melzer had lost in Round Two.

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