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Ruthless Rafa Dismisses Llodra

Madrid, Spain

Rafael Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is on a 36-match winning streak on clay.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal showed no signs of losing his rhythm after missing a match on Thursday as he ruthlessly dismissed France’s Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2 Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open. Nadal claimed his 36th consecutive win on clay.

In a blockbuster semi-final, Nadal will face long-time rival Roger Federer in a repeat of the 2009 and 2010 Madrid finals.The Swiss overcame Robin Soderling in straight sets in the evening session.

"Whoever the opponent is tomorrow it's going to be a difficult match," said Nadal, before he learned the identity of his opponent. "With Federer it’s always a special match. With Soderling, he’s a dangerous player when he’s playing well. You cannot have control of the match all the time when you play against Soderling and this makes it uncomfortable. Whoever wins, it will be a difficult semi-final."

The Spaniard, whose anticipated third-round clash with Juan Martin del Potro did not go ahead due to a hip injury for the Argentine, effortlessly maintained his intensity and accuracy against the net-rushing Llodra. Nadal broke serve four times from 12 opportunities and only surrendered eight points on his own delivery to claim victory in 75 minutes.

"Today it was quite good, especially here with the altitude it’s a little bit more complicated because it’s more difficult to go over him," explained Nadal. "It's a bit more difficult with the serve. I felt quite good on the court, I served well. In the second set there were quite a lot of rallies and not so many in the first and I think I played really well."

Nadal improved to a 23-6 match record in Madrid, having won the trophy for the first time when it was an indoor hard-court tournament in 2005 (d. Ljubicic) and again on clay at the Caja Magica last year.

The 24 year old has reached the final in four of his past five tournaments; finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the finals at Indian Wells and Miami before winning back-to-back clay titles at Monte-Carlo and Barcelona with victory over David Ferrer

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