Tuesday, April 24, 2018 08:18:29 PM
Rafael Nadal snapped a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic in commanding fashion as he romped into the final of the Madrid Masters 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday.
The Spaniard looks in ominous form with just over two weeks to go till the start of the French Open as he stretched his perfect record on clay this season to 14-0 with a dominant display.
Nadal will look to seal his fifth title in Madrid in Sunday's final against Austrian Dominic Thiem in a repeat of the Barcelona Open final Nadal won 6-4, 6-1 two weeks ago.
"It is a great result. To win against Novak by that score you have to be playing very well, otherwise it's impossible," said Nadal.
An open era record 50th meeting between Nadal and Djokovic served to highlight the Serb's dramatic dip in form since they last met in Rome almost exactly a year ago.
"It was an important match for me. I lost a lot of times in a row. To break that means there are always nerves," added Nadal.
"The circumstances nowadays are completely different compared to those seven matches that occurred before.
"I think that the last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years.
For Novak, they were really good years."
Djokovic had won his last 15 sets stretching back to the 2014 French Open
final against the 14-time Grand Slam champion.
However, that run was emphatically ended as Nadal, willed on by a fervent
home support including Cristiano Ronaldo in the VIP boxes, made the perfect
start by breaking the Djokovic serve to love.
"Rafa was obviously a better player today," said Djokovic.
"He deserved to win. He controlled the game from beginning to the end."
Indeed Djokovic could only muster four points in the opening four games as
Nadal raced into a 4-0 lead.
He did salvage some pride by seeing off more pressure on his serve to at
least hold twice and force Nadal to serve out to take the first set in 40
"It wasn't a very high quality of tennis from my side. I made a lot of
unforced errors," added Djokovic.
"His quality was very high. He managed to do whatever he wanted really,
especially in the first set."
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