• ATP Tour

Nadal clinches third Madrid Open crown

ESPN staff
May 12, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rafael Nadal clinched his 40th title on clay © AP
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Rafael Nadal won the Mutua Madrid Open for a third time after the Spaniard defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 6-4.

The seven-time French Open champion was too strong for Wawrinka, and it is a 40th title on his favoured surface of clay for Nadal.

It is also a fifth trophy for Nadal since his return to the circuit in February from a seven-month injury lay-off, and he made it nine wins from nine career meetings against Wawrinka - who appeared to be jaded after his hard-fought victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych en route to the final.

"I'm very happy," Nadal said. "I think I played a really good match. I think I played the best match of the whole week today in the final. Being able to play here in Madrid and being able to win in front of all my people, is something really special."

In his fourth Madrid final in the past five years, Nadal made a sensational start as he won the first three points to race into a 0-40 lead.

However, Wawrinka with excellent serves managed to peg the Spaniard back, but at the sixth attempt Nadal was able to break.

The former world No. 1 consolidated the break and shifted through the gears to secure a another one in the third game as Wawrinka could not cope with his opponent's play.

Rather like Pablo Andujar in the semi-finals on Saturday, Wawrinka faced the prospect of a whitewash in the opening set. But, the Swiss No. 2 avoided the unfortunate feat as he clinched the fifth game to make it 4-1.

Nadal was untroubled for the remainder of the set and sealed it with an ace down the middle as Wawrinka was left flat-footed.

With the first four games going up on serve in the second set, Nadal pressurised Wawrinka in the fifth. However, he did not buckle as he saved three break points, the third with a forehand which clipped the outside of the line.

It was a crucial hold for Wawrinka, but in his next service game he was broken - as was his spirit - as Nadal moved 4-3 in front, before capitalising on the advantage to get his hands on the Madrid trophy for the third time - and his 23rd Masters 1000 title, which puts him two clear of Roger Federer in the all-time standings.

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