World number one Rafael Nadal won his first European clay-court title of the season in front of a home crowd, claiming victory at the Madrid Open after Japan’s Kei Nishikori was forced to retire in the final from a back injury. Nadal, who has now won the Spanish title four times, was leading in the third set after they had one set apiece 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 when Nishikori retired. It could easily have been a different story for Nadal when Nishikori, pre-back problem came out as an attacking force of power and was 4-3 in the second set after winning the first 6-2. He had suffered problems with his back during his three-hour semi-final match against David Ferrer requiring on-court treatment.
Nadal now has twenty-seven Masters 1000 victories to his name and a career total forty-four clay-court titles which is just two away from equalling Argentine great Guillermo Vilas’s all-time record of forty-six on the surface. British number one and world number eight, Andy Murray was knocked out early in the tournament by world number forty-six Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2 who had never beaten a top ten player before. Coach less Murray struggled in his first match against Nicolas Almagro but won in three sets 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
In the Women’s event, eighth seed Russian Maria Sharapova won her first Madrid Open title beating fourth sees Romanian Simona Halep in the final 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, her extending her unbeaten record on clay to eleven matches. Sharapova, 27 has only been defeated on clay three times on clay since 2011, beaten every time by world number one Serena Williams. Williams sadly had to withdraw from the Madrid Open due to a thigh injury ahead of her quarter-final match against Petra Kvitova.
Williams is now in Rome hoping to defend her Italian Open title if her injury allows. She had a bye in the first round and is scheduled to play in round two against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are both playing in Rome after missing the Madrid Open. Federer was at home with his family after his wife Mirka give birth to their twin sons and second seed Djokovic is back in competitive forrm after his wrist injury, beating Czech Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-5 watched by new coach Boris Becker. Third seed Stanislas Wawrinka beat Spanish qualifier Pere Riba convincingly 6-0 6-3.
Mr & Mrs Federer welcomed their second set of twins and Djokovic returns to competitive play after a wrist injury
LATEST UPDATE: Murray, who is 27 today has reached the quarter-finals after beating Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in straight sets 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 and winning his fist match yesterday against Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-2, 7-5. Federer made an early exit in his first match since the birth of his twin sons losing to Jeremy Chady 1,-6 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). Top seed Nadal was taken to three sets but beat France’s Gilles Simon 7-6 (1) 6-7 (4) 6-2. Williams thigh injury did not inhibit her play as beat Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-2 and Sharapova also progressed to the next round with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig
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