Rafael Nadal made a notable debut at Caja Magica in 2009, beating Novak Djokovic in that epic semi-final before losing to Roger Federer in the title clash. Eager to go one step further, Rafa defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets in the first match of the 2010 Madrid Open campaign to set the clash against the 13th seed John Isner in round three.
The American proved to be a dangerous rival on the fast clay, and Nadal worked hard to score a solid 7-5, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 27 minutes. The Spaniard lost only eight points behind the initial shot, defending the second serve nicely and never facing a break point.
John had to follow that pace to stay in touch, doing his best but losing serve once in each set to propel Rafa through. They had a similar number of winners, and the home favorite had the upper hand in the errors department, taming his strokes nicely to seal the deal and remain on the title course.
Rafael Nadal defeated John Isner in straight sets in Madrid 2010.
Nadal stayed in touch with Isner in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and overpowered the rival in the more extended exchanges to forge the win without playing tie breaks.
John claimed the opening two points on the return in the second game before Rafa bounced back to grab the next four and close the game with a forehand down the line winner. The American held after deuce in game three, and the Spaniard responded with a perfect drop shot winner at the net for 2-2.
Isner held at love in games five and seven, with another comfortable service game that sent him 5-4 up. Nadal brought the tenth game home at love to extend the set and grabbed a break at 5-5 when Isner sprayed a forehand error that would cost him dearly.
From 30-15 down in the 12th game, Nadal placed three winners to wrap up the set in 45 minutes, hoping for more in set number two. Returning at 1-1 in set number two, Rafa placed a perfect forehand crosscourt winner to grab a crucial break.
The Spaniard confirmed the break with a service winner and held at love for a 4-2 advantage. Marching towards the finish line, Nadal fired another unreturned serve in game eight and sealed the deal with an ace down the T line at 5-4 to advance into the quarters.