- ATP Tour
Nadal brushes Andujar aside to reach Madrid Open final
Rafael Nadal booked his place in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open after the Spaniard recorded a comfortable 6-0 6-4 win over fellow countryman Pablo Andujar.
The current and record seven-time French Open champion was far from his best against David Ferrer in the quarter-finals on Friday in a comeback victory, but against Andujar the world No. 5 coasted to the first set and completed the job in straight sets to remain on course for a third triumph in Madrid.
Andujar received a wildcard into the event after dropping out of the world's top-100, but his run to the semi-finals this week will see him climb to around No. 54 in the standings.
Andujar revealed after his victory over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals that Nadal was an idol in Spain, so taking on the king of clay would no doubt have been a great occasion for him.
However, it was not such a great start for the 27-year-old, who immediately lost his serve after a nervy start.
Accustomed to participating in semi-finals of major events, Nadal had already settled into a rhythm, and the signs were looking ominous for Andujar, who simply could not get near Nadal in the early stages.
The bagel was on when Nadal secured a double break in the third game and comfortably held serve to extend his advantage, and while Andujar was unable to get a foothold in the rallies, Nadal clinched the first set 6-0 in 24 minutes.
Andujar would have been better off staying in the locker room given the way he played in the opening set. But, he emerged a different player at the beginning of the second as a service hold along with saving a break point put a first game on the board for the wildcard.
Nadal quickly replied to make it 1-1, but Andujar resisted pressure from his opponent and moved 2-1 in front thanks to a forehand cross-court winner.
Both players were untroubled in the next two service games. However, Nadal came under scrutiny for the first time in the match when he fended off three break points in a game which lasted over seven minutes.
The next two games went with serve, but Andujar cracked in the ninth game as Nadal went 5-4 in front, and with it the former world No. 1 served for the win and sealed his passage into the final - which is his seventh in as many tournaments since returning in February from a seven-month injury lay-off.
In the final, Nadal will take on Stanislas Wawrinka after the Swiss No. 2 saw off Tomas Berdych 6-3 4-6 6-4.