Rafael Nadal stretched his incredible winning streak over Tomas Berdych to 17 matches when he beat him 6-4, 6-2 in their Madrid Masters quarter-final on Friday.
The world number one has now won 18 out of 21 matches between the pair, and he eventually proved to be too strong for the Czech after an even start.
The first six games of the first set went with the serve, before a break of serve to 30 saw Nadal edge ahead, and he did not let the advantage slip in taking the one set advantage.
Two further breaks of serve in the second set saw the Spaniard cruise to victory, with the match lasting 88 minutes.
Nadal, who is the defending champion and is aiming to win the tournament for the fourth time, will now face his compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in Sunday’s final, who defeated Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4 to set up his first match against the 13-time Grand Slam champion.
Nadal is bidding to win his 44th ATP title on clay, and he has looked unflappable in his run to the last four, winning all three of his matches so far in straight sets.
The 27-year-old lost just one game in his second round match against Juan Monaco, and overcame Jarkko Nieminen took only five games off the Mallorcan in the third round.
Berdych remains without a win over the “King of Clay” since beating him in Madrid in 2006, when the tournament was held on an indoor hard court.
The world number six managed an impressive win over 12th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, but he is still searching to find his best form on clay this year.
He reached the final of the Portugal Open in Oeiras last week, where he was surprisingly beaten by world number 62 Carlos Berlocq in three sets.
That followed a disappointing loss to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the last 16 of the Monte Carlo Masters in April, and the 2010 Wimbledon finalist has not been able to repeat the impressive form he showed during the hard court season, where he reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and won his ninth ATP title in Rotterdam.
Berdych came close to winning the Masters 1000 Series event in Madrid in 2012, where he reached the final before losing to Roger Federer.
The match between Nadal and Bautista Agut will be the first men’s match on the Manolo Santana court on Saturday.
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