Photo: Rafael Nadal
Spain’s Rafael Nadal cruised to a 6-0, 6-4 victory Saturday over countryman Pablo Andujar at the Mutua Madrid Open and will take on Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka in the final.
After a lopsided first set in which Nadal lost just nine points, it seemed entirely possible that Andujar might not win a single game in the match.
But the world No. 113 picked up his aggressiveness in the second set and even had three break points for a 4-2 lead before Nadal lifted his game and finished off the match in just under 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Nadal hit numerous winners with his forehand and was much sharper than in his quarterfinal contest Friday against another Spaniard, David Ferrer, who was two points from victory in the second set.
The world No. 5 will seek his 40th clay-court title of his career in the final, his seventh in a row since returning to the ATP Tour in February after a long injury layoff.
Despite his highly successful comeback from a serious knee problem, Nadal was ever cautious in the post-match interview Saturday in assessing his chances at the biggest event of the clay-court season, the French Open, which starts on May 26.
“I’ve only played seven tournaments (and) I don’t know if I’m going to be able to compete to win Roland Garros,” Nadal said. “I don’t know it today. The only thinking I have is that how I (have) played until now has been really good. The results have been really positive.”
“Today I’m enjoying my path to the final in one of the most important tournaments in the world. We go step by step, week by week even when we get to Roland Garros.”
Next up in Madrid’s championship match will be Wawrinka, who rallied in the third set to top Czech Tomas Berdych 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in Saturday’s second semifinal.
In the women’s semifinals earlier Saturday, Serena Williams defeated Italy’s Sara Errani 7-5, 6-2 and will take on Russia’s Maria Sharapova, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, in Sunday’s final.
The Mutua Madrid Open is one of the biggest clay-court tournaments on the ATP and WTA calendars and a major tune-up for the French Open, which Nadal has won a record seven times.