Rafael Nadal chased his third consecutive Madrid Masters title in 2015, reaching his sixth final from seven trips to Caja Magica. Andy Murray stood on the other side of the net in the title clash, claiming his first ATP clay-court title in Munich a week earlier and wishing for more in Madrid.
The Britone overpowered the Spaniard 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 29 minutes, ending Nadal's Madrid streak and lifting his first Masters 1000 title on clay. It was a tough defeat for the home favorite, failing to stay on the court for an hour and a half in an ATP clay-court encounter for the eighth time in a career!
Murray was 1-13 against the top-10 rivals on clay ahead of Madrid, changing that in Caja Magica and earning three victories over the rivals from the top to celebrate the title. Andy became the fourth player who beat Rafa in an ATP final on clay after Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Horacio Zeballos.
It was Nadal's most brutal loss on clay in terms of the scoreline since Bastad 2004 when he was only 18! It was their seventh meeting on clay and the first triumph for Andy, who added that last touch he lacked to topple the great rival on his beloved surface.
It was one of the most challenging springs for Nadal in his career, falling short in Monte Carlo and Barcelona before Madrid. For the first time since 2004, Rafa failed to win an ATP title on clay in three back-to-back tournaments, and he would not change that in Rome and Paris!
Still, we can not take anything away from Andy, who played a brilliant match to overpower Rafa in every department. The Briton lost just four points behind his second serve. He fended off all three break chances to keep the pressure on the other side, something Nadal could not deal with at that moment.
Murray played aggressively throughout the tournament, determined to keep the points on his racquet, taking the ball early and returning the second serve from inside the court against every opponent.
Andy Murray toppled Rafael Nadal in the 2015 Madrid Open final.
The Spaniard served at 72%, although that did not help him much against Andy's rock-solid returns.
Rafa faced six break opportunities and lost serve three times to hand the win to his rival and continue a miserable run on clay for his standards. The Briton earned the victory in the shortest rallies up to four strokes. He served better and hit the first groundstroke more efficiently than Nadal, who stayed in touch in the more extended exchanges but without impacting the outcome.
Andy meant business from the start, winning 12 of the first 14 points to build momentum and a 3-0 advantage. He broke Nadal when the Spaniard sent a backhand long in the second game, serving well and settling into a nice rhythm while mounting the pressure on the opponent.
Rafa got his name on the scoreboard with a forehand winner in game four, but Andy fired one of his own a few minutes later to extend the lead to 4-1. Nadal held at love in game six and was ready to compete. He created two break opportunities in the next game that could have boosted his chances after a slow start.
Andy was not to be denied, though, winning four points in a row to get out of jail and serve for the set after Rafa's easy hold in game eight. The Spaniard found his backhand in those moments, creating another break opportunity that Murray erased with a perfect serve & forehand combo and closed the set after Nadal's forced error.
Things were only to become ugly for Nadal in set number two, as he netted a backhand in the opening game that gave Murray an early lead. The Briton confirmed it with an ace in game two that pushed him closer to the finish line.
Rafa suffered another blow at 0-2, wasting game points and giving his serve away after a poor backhand to drift further away from the title defense. Another backhand error cost him the fourth game before ending his drought with an ace in game five to reduce the deficit and avoid bagel.
Andy forged a 5-1 advantage with another game full of variety and depth in his shots and earned a match point with two service winners at 5-2. Another poor return from Nadal sealed his fate in this match, and Murray started a massive celebration with Amelie Mauresmo and the rest of his team.