Madrid Flashback: Andy Murray tops Rafael Nadal for second straight year

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Madrid Flashback: Andy Murray tops Rafael Nadal for second straight year

Andy Murray toppled a two-time defending Madrid Masters champion Rafael Nadal in 2015 final. A year later, Murray secured a place in another Caja Magica title clash following a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over the Spaniard in grueling two hours and 11 minutes.

Andy played his best tennis when it mattered the most. After a grueling and exciting battle, he fended off 11 out of 13 break points and converted four return chances to seal the deal. It was the seventh triumph for the Briton over the Spaniard and their last clash on the Tour due to Andy's injuries in the upcoming years.

Nadal won Monte Carlo and Barcelona titles in the previous weeks, and he failed to repeat that in the Spanish capital after hitting almost 30 forced errors. Rafa could not push Andy away from the comfort zone or seize his opportunities on the return, even though Murray served at 54%.

The Briton had the advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes and stayed in touch with Rafa in the most extended exchanges to seal the deal in straight sets and remain on the title course. The match was played under a roof due to the rain.

Murray had the upper hand in those conditions, with fast first serves and rock-solid backhands that denied the majority of Nadal's attacks and drew many errors from the king of clay. Andy drew first blood in the opener's fourth game after Rafa's backhand error.

The Briton held at 15 thanks to a loose drop shot from the crowd's favorite and opened a 4-1 gap.

Andy Murray toppled Rafael Nadal in the 2016 Madrid Open semi-final.

In the seventh game, Andy repelled two break chances with service winners and brought it home with a forehand winner to open a 5-2 gap and move closer to the set.

Ready to fight for every point, Rafa held at love and pulled the break back in game nine to reduce the deficit. The Spaniard prolonged the action with a forehand winner in game ten for 5-5. Staying focused, Andy held after deuce in game 11 and stole Rafa's serve at love with a return winner for 7-5 after 62 minutes.

The Spaniard wasted break chances at the beginning of the second set. Murray fended off another two at 2-2 with service winners and held after five deuces with a volley winner. That game became even more significant when he stole Nadal's serve in the next game to open a 4-2 gap.

The Briton erased two break points with winners in the next game to extend the advantage and move closer to the finish line. Serving for the victory at 5-3, Andy netted a forehand to suffer a break that brought Rafa back into contention, making the crowd at Caja Magica erupt in joy.

It was the last push that Rafa made in this encounter, though, as he netted a forehand and suffered a break at 15 in game ten to propel Murray into his second straight Madrid final.