ATP Mutua Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal beats Roberto Bautista Agut to reach final
Last Updated: 10/05/14 10:06pm
Defending champion Rafael Nadal saw-off the challenge of compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to reach the ATP Mutua Madrid Open final where he will face Kei Nishikori.
The world No 1 beat his unseeded opponent 6-4 6-3 in one hour 43 minutes to record his 50th straight semi-final win on clay.
It looked like it could be an easy day for the defending champion when he broke the Bautista Agut serve in the opening game.
However, the world number 45 fought back and broke Nadal to level the first set at 3-3.
But Nadal upped his tempo, taking seven games on the trot to win the first set and move a double break up in the second.
Bautista Agut again showed the fighting spirit which had carried him to the last four, by first surviving two break points and then breaking Nadal to close to 4-3.
However, Nadal again found an extra gear to take the final two games and claim the victory.
Thrilling win for Nishikori
The Spanish ace, bidding to win a fourth title at the event, will next face Japanese star Nishikori after he came through a three-set thriller to eliminate David Ferrer.
The enthralling contest lasted a shade under three hours and it was Nishikori whom eventually prevailed 7-6 (7/5) 5-7 6-3.
The pair both broke once during the opening set, but Ferrer looked in total control of the tie-break as he moved 5-2 ahead, only for Nishikori to reel off five straight points to sneak it.
He then forced his first match-point at 4-5 on the Ferrer serve in the second, but the Spaniard saved it with an ace and then went on to break before squaring the match.
At that point Nishikori had extensive treatment for a back injury, but it did not appear to hamper him as he broke to move out into a 5-2 lead.
However, serving for the match at 5-3, he would need a further nine match points before eventually sealing victory in an epic final game that lasted nearly 15 minutes.
Victory was ultimately confirmed when Ferrer sent a forehand wide meaning Nishikori - who will become the first Japanese man to break the world's top 10 in the latest world rankings - has now won ten straight matches on clay this season.
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