After a short campaign on Madrid’s blue clay in 2012, Nadal was back on the winning way a year later, advancing into the fourth final in Caja Magica thanks to a 6-0, 6-4 victory over a compatriot Pablo Andujar in an hour and 17 minutes.
Andujar came to Madrid with 11 Masters 1000 triumphs in total, finding his A-game in the Spanish capital and beating Kei Nishikori in the quarters to set Nadal clash. Rafa proved to be too good on that day, fending off all three break chances and dropping 11 points in eight service games to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
Andujar couldn’t match those numbers, giving away half of the points in his games and suffering four breaks from seven chances offered to the more experienced compatriot who raced into the 34th Masters 1000 final at 26!
Nadal had 22 winners and 12 unforced errors, destroying the opponent in the quickest points up to four strokes and controlling the pace all the time despite having to work a little bit harder in set number two. Pablo netted a forehand in the opening game to lose serve and make the worst start, with Nadal cementing the break after a service winner to open a 2-0 lead.
Unable to find his range, Andujar landed a forehand long in the third game to get broken again, allowing Rafa to open a 4-0 advantage after just 16 minutes. Pablo hit a double fault in the fifth game to find himself 5-0 down before Rafa closed the set with three winners in the next game for a bagel after 24 minutes and the most reliable start of the encounter.
The lower-ranked Spaniard was there to fight in set number two, imposing his strokes and creating break chances with a forehand winner in game six. Staying calm, Rafa repelled three of those with winners, bringing the game home after a volley error from his rival to level the score at 3-3.
Both players served well in the next couple of games and it was Nadal who made a crucial move with a break at 4-4 following a terrible drop shot from Andujar, forging the advantage and moving over the top with four winners in game ten, reaching his fourth final in five tournaments in Caja Magica.