MADRID: Andy Murray will meet Rafael Nadal in the final of the Madrid Open after continuing his flawless start to the European clay court season with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Kei Nishikori.
Earlier, Nadal powered past the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych 7-6 (3), 6-1 to reach his seventh final in the Spanish capital.
“This year and in the off-season I put in a lot of hard work on my game and made a few changes and tried to get back to playing the way that I was playing when I was my most successful,” said Murray.
“Today I was pretty aggressive, I tried to dictate a lot of the points, especially when he was serving, and it worked well.
“Against Rafa it’s going to be extremely difficult, especially playing here in Spain. I think he’s played very well this week too, so hopefully I can put in a good performance and make it tough for him.”
Murray won his first ever clay court tournament earlier in the week in Munich, but was up against an in-form Nishikori, who claimed his second consecutive Barcelona Open title two weeks ago.
“There were too many unforced errors from me. I don’t think I played too bad, but to beat Andy I was missing too much,” said Nishikori.
Unusually it is Nadal who is seeking his first title of the European clay after falling to world number one Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals and a stunning defeat to Fabio Fognini early at the Barcelona Open last month.
However, the nine-time French Open champion showed signs of his best form back on his favored surface in sealing victory in temperatures which nudged 30 degrees in just under two hours on court.
“Tomas is a player that is playing spectacularly this year, he is competing in all the tournaments and I had to be at a high level to beat him,” said Nadal, who holds a career 15-5 edge over Murray and is 6-0 on clay.