Rafael Nadal’s clay court season is on an upswing…
The 27-year-old Spanish tennis star, the world’s top-ranked player, defeated fellow countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the finals at the Madrid Open.
With the win, Nadal, the defending champion, reached his first clay final since winning in Rio de Janeiro in February.
Bautista Agut, playing in his first career Masters series semifinal, couldn’t match the experience of Nadal, who continues to improve after coming to the Magic Box center having lost at consecutive clay tournaments for the first time in a decade.
Nadal took advantage of Bautista Agut’s timid start to break right away for a lead he would never surrender.
Nadal’s concentration dipped temporarily in the second set as Bautista Agut clawed to within 4-3 before Nadal overcame his 21 errors by pulling away to reach his 90th career final.
“Psychologically speaking about Monte Carlo and Barcelona, whenever I had nerves, I was not ready and I was a little bit down,” said Nadal, bidding to be the first repeat winner from his sixth final appearance.
“I am mentally more stable and more confident things will go well. This is great news going into tomorrow’s match and for the future.”