Following the semi-final losses in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, world no. 2 and five-time Madrid champion advanced into the fifth semi-final of 2019 in front of the home fans, defeating a former Madrid finalist Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-2 in swift 68 minutes.
It was the best match for Rafa on his favorite surface in the first three events last spring, dominating on both serve and return to leave the Swiss far behind, scoring the 18th win over Stan in 21 matches. Nadal celebrated the 372nd Masters 1000 triumph and the 52nd in Madrid, dropping seven points on serve and never experiencing problems in his games.
Moving well and controlling the pace in the rallies, the Spaniard seized 56% of the return points to notch four breaks from ten opportunities and bring the match home in no time at all. They had a similar number of winners and mistakes were the element that determined the winner, with Rafa staying on six and Stan counting to 24, spraying most of those from his forehand that couldn't do much against stable and persistent strokes from the other side of the net.
As the result suggests, Nadal had the upper hand in the quickest, mid-range and more extended exchanges, doing everything right on the court and giving his fans hope he could go all the way in Madrid after losing before the final in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Settling into an excellent rhythm right from the start, Rafa delivered one good hold after another and moved in front with a break at love in game four when Wawrinka hit a double fault. Unable to find the range or free space, the Swiss sprayed a forehand error at 1-4 for another break at love, allowing Nadal to close the opener with a hold in the next game for a 6-1 in 27 minutes.
Nothing changed in the second set and the Spaniard grabbed a break at 2-2 after some stunning defense, forging another break in the seventh game and moving over the top with a hold at love a few minutes later, blasting a service winner to set Stefanos Tsitsipas clash on Saturday night.