ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Rafael Nadal tops Roberto Bautista Agut for place in the final


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ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Rafael Nadal tops Roberto Bautista Agut for place in the final

Caja Magica hosted the first edition of Madrid Masters 1000 event on clay in 2009 and Rafael Nadal was the player to beat in the first six editions, reaching five finals (he missed that in 2012 on blue clay) and seeking the third title in 2014 following a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Roberto Bautista Agut.

It was the first meeting between two Spaniards and Nadal had to work hard to score the win, overpowering the opponent in the mid-range exchanges to find himself in the title match. Bautista Agut grabbed two breaks from four opportunities but that wasn't enough for at least a set despite a solid effort, struggling on the second serve and getting broken five times from 13 chances offered to world no.

1. Rafa had more winners than unforced errors, unable to topple Roberto in the shortest and most advanced exchanges but earning the victory in those rallies with five to eight strokes where he stood miles in front. The defending champion clinched a break in the first game for the best start, placing a forehand down the line winner in game four to open a 3-1 gap.

Bautista Agut broke back in game six when Nadal sent a forehand long, only to lose serve again in the next game after a great battle and a backhand winner from the more experienced Spaniard. Three winners in game eight sent Rafa 5-3 up, securing the opener with a forehand crosscourt winner in game ten for a 6-4 after 51 minutes.

Just like the first set, the second started with a break for the two-time winner who held at 15 to forge a 6-4, 2-0 advantage. Bautista Agut sprayed a forehand mistake to find himself 3-0 down, with Nadal moving closer to the finish line after a forehand winner in the next game.

Facing break chances, Roberto survived a challenging fifth game and was back in action when Nadal netted a backhand in the next game to get broken. With no room for further errors, Rafa held at love to gain a 5-3 lead, moving over the top with a forehand winner a few minutes later that gave him another break and the place in the fifth final in Caja Magica from six editions.