Murray to face Nadal in Madrid final

Britain’s Andy Murray will face Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Masters final after beating Kei Nishikori in straight sets.


Murray produced an aggressive display to dispatch the fourth seed 6-3 6-4.

The Japanese struggled to return serve effectively as world number three Murray reached his first Masters final on clay.

“I returned well and put him under a lot of pressure on his serve,” said the Scot, 27. “And my backhand was really good tonight.”

The British number one is aiming for back-to-back clay-court titles after winning his first ATP crown on the surface in Munich last week.

“I did a few things well,” he added. “Kei has a fantastic backhand and I won the exchanges on cross-court.

“I got a lot of winners down the line and because I was pushing him back to the baseline, I was able to use my to drop shot. I was getting a lot of kick on second serve, too, so I got a lot of free points with that.”

At 2-3 on serve in the first set, Murray increased the pressure and reeled off four straight games to move a set ahead.

And although Nishikori broke him early in the second, the British number one hit straight back, and then broke the Japanese again at 5-4 to seal the win.

Earlier, defending champion Nadal looked near his best in his Madrid Open semi-final against Tomas Berdych, earning his place in the final with ease.

The Spaniard delivered a masterclass of clay-court tennis to prevail 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 against the Czech sixth seed.

The two men were evenly matched in the first set, before Nadal hit a string of forehand winners in the tie-break

Berdych was unable to make an impression on the Nadal serve and became frustrated by distractions in the crowd. Errors crept into his game and Nadal was able to break twice before serving out the second set.

After his struggles with injury in recent years, the Spaniard appears to be hitting peak form before the French Open begins later this month and has not dropped a set en route to the Madrid final.