Rafael Nadal has booked a place in the finals of the Madrid Masters 1000 event, and in doing so a chance to win three consecutive Masters tournaments for the first time in history. If Rafa wins the title it will be the 18th Masters title for the Spaniard and place him at the top of the list in terms of Masters titles won, surpassing Agassi on 17 and Federer on 16. No matter the outcome of the final, Nadal will move back to the number 2 position in the world rankings, meaning a possible Nadal/Federer final at Roland Garros.
In search of a clay court sweep Rafa had to rally from a set down against Almagro, one of Spain’s many brilliant clay court players, with Nadal finally winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
It started poorly for Nadal, whose father, Sebastian, was once again present (as he has been all clay court season) watching his son drop his opening two service games. He was able to claim back both breaks but was eventually broken again, allowing Almagro to eventually serve it out after initially tightening up. Rafa later admitted his serve in the opening set was abysmal. “My serve was terrible in that first set. Very strange.”
It was only the second time in his career that Almagro has claimed a set over his compatriot.
He then made a strong comeback in the second set, with Almagro unable to maintain the momentum. With Christiano Ronaldo again in attendance, Rafa started to increase his aggression. With only 38% of first serves in the third set Almagro folded and handed over the match.
Nadal will face Federer for the first time in exactly a year for the title.
“He can win a lot of free points with serve and forehand. This court is perfect for him. He is the favourite here for sure.” – Rafael Nadal about Federer