Rafael Nadal has defeated Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-4 for the first time in three years to reach the final of the Madrid Open.
Nadal had overcome David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals, while defending champion Novak Djokovic strolled to the semis after Kei Nishikori pulled out of the tournament due to a wrist injury.
Despite enjoying a longer rest, the Serb fell to Nadal in straights sets. and will face either Dominic Thiem or Pablo Cuevas in the final on Sunday.
Nadal will face either Dominic Thiem or Pablo Cuevas in the final on Sunday.
“I knew I’d have to play very well and I thought I did very well in the first set. Then in the second I got the typical nerves from playing Djokovic,” Nadal said.
“I couldn’t be happier. To reach another final in Madrid means everything to me.”
The Spaniard, who had battled injuries in recent years, has enjoyed resurgence in his career and claimed a historic 10th Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Djokovic, on the other hand, fired his entire coaching staff ahead of the Madrid Open following a poor run of form.
He lost his world number one title to Andy Murray, who has also struggled recently, in November 2016; he also crashed out of the Monte-Carlo Masters in the quarter-finals.