Rafa Nadal will play Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open after defeating Joao Sousa 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 in a pulsating match that even the rain didn’t want to miss.
“The game went well; I played very well in the opening set. I was hitting the ball deep and did a lot of damage,” Nadal said after the match, the first set of which he took in 29 minutes.
Halfway through the second set the forecast rain put in an appearance in the skies above the Caja Mágica, halting the game for a few minutes while the roof on Manolo Santana was rolled out. “It doesn’t bother me playing with the roof closed. The problem was the balls were wet and they were very heavy. The delay obviously didn’t help and also I didn’t manage a break [of serve] when I had the chance,” added the fifth seed.
When the third set got underway, and with new balls in play, Nadal staged a revival and carved out a victory that served to book his place in the last four. “After losing the first set I tried to fight, to find a way back in and luckily I did it in time,” the Spaniard said.
In the semi-finals Nadal will meet Andy Murray in a repeat of last year’s final, although the four-times champion predicts a different type of match this time around. “This year is different and there are different emotions. It’s going to be a difficult game and I’ll have to be at my best to win. For me it’s an opportunity to play against one of the best in the world again and if I play at my best level I’ll have more chances.” Nadal also noted that the game would be more problematic than the pair’s meeting in Monte Carlo a few weeks ago “because the altitude helps [Murray]’s game more.”