Madrid Flashback: Rafael Nadal edges David Ferrer and bagels him

Rafael Nadal had to dig deep against David Ferrer in Madrid 2013

by Jovica Ilic
Madrid Flashback: Rafael Nadal edges David Ferrer and bagels him

After an early loss on blue clay in Madrid in 2012, Rafael Nadal was back at his best in Caja Magica a year later. The home favorite advanced into the semi-final for the fourth time in the last five years following a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6, 6-0 triumph over David Ferrer in two hours and 37 minutes.

It was Rafa's 18th win over David in 22 encounters and the seventh in a row. Nadal had to give his everything to avoid an early exit in the second set, standing two points away from the exit door before dominating the rest of the clash since the tie break.

Rafa was the only player in the decider, producing a bagel and gaining a boost. Ferrer served at only 49%. However, he stayed in touch in the opening two sets and moved just a few points from a notable victory before failing to make that last step.

The more experienced Spaniard faded from the court in the decider, suffering seven breaks while stealing Nadal's serve five times. Rafa sent a backhand long in the encounter's fourth game to give serve away and fall behind.

Nadal wasted his opportunities in the next one before placing a lob winner at 2-4 to pull the break back and return to the positive side.

Rafael Nadal stood two points away from defeat vs. Ferrer in Madrid 2013.

Nadal held with a service winner to level the score at 4-4 before Ferrer raised his level again.

David held at 15 and secured a break with a volley winner in the tenth game to grab the opener in 50 minutes. With no room for errors, Nadal broke at love in the second set's third game to gain the advantage. However, he stayed in front only for a few minutes before David broke back with a marvelous forehand winner to lock the result at 2-2.

Nadal saved a break chance with a volley winner in the sixth game before Ferrer closed the game with his volley winner and opened a 6-4, 4-2 gap. Nadal broke back in the next game to remain in contention and clinched another break at 4-4 following Ferrer's terrible backhand to serve for the set.

David broke back in the last moment to prolong the set and stood two points away from the finish line at 30-30 in game 12 before Nadal held to set the tie break. Rafa won it 7-3 after a service winner, surviving a grueling set that lasted over 70 minutes and becoming the favorite ahead of the decider.

Nadal saved a break point in the final set's first game before Ferrer sent a forehand wide in game two, pushing Rafa in front and starting to lose ground. The 2010 champion held in the next game with a service winner and placed a forehand down the line winner for a break and a 4-0 advantage.

Never looking back, the 5th seed sealed the deal in game six, delivering a bagel and entering the last four to remain on the title course.

Rafael Nadal David Ferrer