Madrid Masters: Rafael Nadal restores order in Caja Magica

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Madrid Masters: Rafael Nadal restores order in Caja Magica
Madrid Masters: Rafael Nadal restores order in Caja Magica

Rafael Nadal made a strong comeback from a left knee injury that ruined the second part of his 2012 season. Rafa returned at his best in 2013, winning titles in Sao Paulo, Acapulco and Indian Wells before experiencing his first Monte Carlo loss to Novak Djokovic.

Nadal was the dominant figure in Barcelona and reached the final at home in Madrid, his seventh title match in a row since making the return three months earlier! On May 12, Rafa defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 12 minutes for his 55th ATP crown and third in Madrid, the first since 2010.

It was their ninth meeting (the seventh in a row at Masters 1000 series) and the ninth victory for Nadal, who was yet to lose a set against the Swiss. Rafa produced one of the most exceptional serving performances in his career.

The home favorite dropped only seven points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point, mounting the pressure on the other side.

Rafael Nadal claimed his second Caja Magica title in 2013.

Also, the Spaniard claimed 40% of the points on Stan's serve and scored three breaks from 11 chances, six in the encounter's opening game.

Rafa controlled the scoreboard and earned his 23rd Masters 1000 crown at 26. Nadal had more winners than unforced errors. On the other hand, Wawrinka made too many mistakes, unable to penetrate his rival and open the court with his groundstrokes.

The Swiss could barely force the opponent's mistake, hitting around 20 and losing ground in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to push Nadal over the top. A forehand winner gave Rafa an instant break in the first game, converting the sixth break opportunity to make the best start and holding at love in game two to cement the advantage.

Stan hit a double fault in game three to lose serve again, followed by another comfortable hold from the Spaniard after a forehand down the line winner that sent him 4-0 up after swift 18 minutes. The Swiss finally got his name on the scoreboard with a hold in game five.

However, he was still powerless on the return, as Rafa brought another service game home to increase the lead to 5-1. Stan reduced the deficit with an ace, but the Spaniard was not to be denied, hitting an ace in game eight to close the opener in just over 30 minutes.

The second set kicked off much tighter, and Wawrinka reached deuce on the return in game four for the first and only time. Rafa held with an ace and had a huge chance to break Stan's serve in the next game, with three break points up for grabs.

The Swiss saved them all and won five points in a row to stay in front before Rafa leveled the score at 3-3 with another unreturned serve. The pivotal moment occurred in game seven when Stan hit a double fault to give serve away.

Nadal confirmed the break in style after an unreturned serve in the next one to forge a 5-3 advantage and move closer to the finish line. Stan claimed the next game on his serve, and that was all we saw from him. Rafa brought the tenth game home at 15 to celebrate his fifth title since the comeback and boost confidence ahead of Roland Garros.

Madrid Masters Rafael Nadal Stan Wawrinka

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