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ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Rafael Nadal tops Pablo Andujar to set Stan Wawrinka clash

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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.

Rafa

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.

Rafa in action

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.

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Rafa Nadal and I have had our differences, but he’s an absolute champion,’ says Nick Kyrgios

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Nick Kyrgios admits that he and Rafa Nadal have ‘had their differences’ over the years but he can’t help but admire his achievements.

Nadal won his 20th Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros earlier this month to draw level with Roger Federer in the history books.

Kyrgios has a bit of a storied past when it comes to spats with Nadal, who he once branded ‘super salty’ whilst accusing him of being a bad loser.

Even he, though, can’t deny the Spaniard has achieved something special.

“I wasn’t surprised when I saw Rafa Nadal pretty much easing his way through the draw at the French Open,” Kyrgios told Courtside Huddle.

“That’s his backyard, he loves playing there and he has only lost two matches in his entire career.

“Honestly, in my opinion I don’t think we are going to see anything like that ever again.

“Somebody so dominant on a surface he’s right there with the greatest of all time. You can argue that he is the greatest.’

“You look at Federer, he’s the most dominant player of all time, but in this era it’s actually Rafa. It’s a debate you can have.”

“We had our differences when we played each other. We’re fiery, we’re competitors and are going to go after each other.

“But at the same time I am not going to take anything away from him . He’s an absolute champion and 20 Grand Slam is ridiculous and I don’t think we are ever going to see that again.”

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