Friday May 13, 2022

After a short campaign on Madrid’s blue clay in 2012, Rafael Nadal was back on a winning way a year later. The home favorite advanced into the fourth Caja Magica final within five years thanks to a 6-0, 6-4 victory over compatriot Pablo Andujar in an hour and 17 minutes.

Andujar came to Madrid with 11 Masters 1000 triumphs, and he found his A-game in the Spanish capital to beat Kei Nishikori in the quarters and set Nadal clash. Rafa proved to be too good that day, fending off all three break chances and dropping 11 points in eight service games to keep the pressure on the other side.

Andujar could not match those numbers, giving away half of the points behind the initial shot and suffering four breaks from seven chances offered to the more experienced compatriot. Thus, Rafa raced into the 34th Masters 1000 final at 26 and remained on the title course.

Nadal had 22 winners and 12 unforced errors, destroying the opponent in the quickest points up to four strokes and controlling the pace despite working harder in set number two. Pablo netted a forehand in the opening game to lose serve and make the worst start, with Nadal cementing the break after a service winner to open a 2-0 lead.

Rafael Nadal defeated Pablo Andujar in the 2013 Madrid semi-final.

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Unable to find his range, Andujar landed a forehand long in the third game to get broken again and allowed Rafa to open a 4-0 advantage after swift 16 minutes.

Pablo hit a double fault in the fifth game to find himself 5-0 down before Rafa closed the set with three winners in the next one for a bagel after 24 minutes. The lower-ranked Spaniard was there to fight in set number two, imposing his strokes and creating break chances with a forehand winner in game six.

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Staying calm, Rafa repelled three of those with winners and brought the game home after the rival’s volley error. Both players served well in the next couple of games, and Nadal made a crucial move with a break at 4-4 following Andujar’s terrible drop.

Rafa forged the advantage and sealed the deal with four winners in the tenth game to set the title clash against Stan Wawrinka.

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