ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Rafael Nadal sprints past Tomas Berdych in set number two



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ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Rafael Nadal sprints past Tomas Berdych in set number two

In the first seven editions of the Masters 1000 event in Madrid in Caja Magica between 2009-15, Rafael Nadal was the finalist in six of those, winning back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 and hoping for another one in 2015.

In the semis, Rafa took down Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 44 minutes, extending the winning streak in front of the home fans and beating the Czech for the second straight year in the Spanish capital. That triumph from 2014 was Nadal's 17th consecutive over Berdych, losing the next encounter at the Australian Open next January and getting back on the winning course in May in Madrid to set the title clash against Andy Murray.

Rafa lost only ten points behind the initial shot, never facing a break point and taking the opening set tie break before racing towards the finish line in the second set and score the 14th straight victory at home Masters 1000 event.

Serving at only 45%, Tomas remained in contention in the first part of the clash, dropping the breaker 7-3 and fading from the court after that, as many times against the players from the top. They had a similar number of winners and Nadal committed far less unforced errors, having the upper hand in both the shortest and more extended rallies to seal the deal in straight sets.

The first break chances came in the seventh game when Berdych denied Nadal's opportunity with an ace, firing a service winner at 5-5 to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard and forcing Rafa to serve for staying in the opener.

Nadal held at love to gain momentum ahead of the tie break where he opened a 5-2 advantage with two winners, firing another one from his forehand to earn a 6-3 lead before Berdych sprayed a forehand error to hand the set to Rafa after 61 minutes.

Leading 2-1 in set number two, Nadal forced an error from Berdych to convert the third break chance and move 3-1 up, confirming the break with a service winner and securing another return game after a double fault from Tomas.

Serving for the triumph, the Spaniard hit two winners in the seventh game to move over the top and set the title clash against Andy Murray.