Sunday Tribune

Nadal ends Djokovic jinx to reach another Madrid Open final


MADRID: Rafael Nadal ended a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic in emphatic fashion by thrashing the world No 2 6-2, 6-4 yesterday to reach the final of the Madrid Open and move within a step of a third consecutiv­e clay-court title.

The Spaniard and four-time winner in Madrid got off to a dream start in the 50th meeting between the two great rivals, winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic, with the home crowd wildly celebratin­g his first point – a potent return which the Serbian could only hit into the ground.

Defending champion Djokovic, who broke with long-time coach Marian Vajda and his staff the week before the tournament in a bid to reverse his downward trajectory of results in the last year, surrendere­d his serve again in the third game, and Nadal held to go 4-0 up.

Real Madrid great Raul and all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo were among those watching in the stands in the Caja Majica on a scorching day in the Spanish capital as Madrid fan Nadal continued his rampant start to the year.

Nadal had to save a break point before taking the contest at the third time of asking to reach the Madrid final for the eighth time.

Nadal will play either Austrian Dominic Thiem or Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in today’s final, where he will look to add to his recent triumphs in the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open.

“I thought I did well in the first set. Then in the second I got the typical nerves from playing Djokovic,” Nadal told Television Espanola. “I couldnt be happier. To reach another final in Madrid. It means everything to me.” – Reuters

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