After an early loss in Madrid 2012 on blue clay, Rafael Nadal was back at his best in Caja Magica a year later. The home favorite advanced into the semi-final for the fourth time in the last five years following a hard-fought 5-6, 7-6, 6-0 triumph over David Ferrer in two hours and 37 minutes. It was Rafa’s 18th win over David in 22 encounters and the seventh in a row. He earned it after standing two points away from losing in the second set’s closing stages. Rafa repelled the danger and dominated the rest of the clash since the tie break. Ferrer served at only 49%, staying in touch in the opening two sets and moving just a few points from a notable victory. The more experienced Spaniard faded from the court in the decider, suffering seven breaks while stealing Nadal’s serve five times. Rafa sent a backhand long in the encounter’s fourth game to give serve away. He wasted his opportunities in the next one before placing a lob winner at 2-4 to pull the break back and return to the positive side.
Rafael Nadal stood two points away from defeat vs. Ferrer in Madrid 2013.
Nadal held with a service winner to lock the result at 4-4 before Ferrer raised his level again. David held at 15 and secured a break with a volley winner in the tenth game to grab the opener in 50 minutes. With no room for errors, Nadal broke at love in the second set’s third game to gain the advantage. He stayed in front for a couple of minutes before David broke back with a marvelous forehand winner for 2-2. Nadal saved a break chance with a volley winner in the sixth game before Ferrer found a way to clinch a break with a volley winner of his own to open a 6-4, 4-2 gap and move closer to the finish line. Nadal broke back in the next game to remain in contention and clinched another break at 4-4 following Ferrer’s terrible backhand to serve for the set. David broke back in the last moment to prolong the action and keep the pressure on the other side.
He stood two points away from the finish line at 30-30 in game 12 before Nadal held to set the tie break. Rafa won it 7-3 after a service winner to force a decider after over 70 minutes and stay in contention. Nadal saved a break point in the final set’s first game before Ferrer sent a forehand wide in game two to push Rafa in front and start losing ground. The 2010 champion held in the next game with a service winner and placed a forehand down the line winner for a break and a 4-0 advantage. Never looking back, the 5th seed sealed the deal in game six to deliver a bagel and enter the last four to remain on the title course.