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Nadal, Ferrer, Nishikori, Bautista Agut In Madrid SF Action

Madrid, Spain

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is looking to reach the Madrid final.

FINAL FOUR: Three Spanish players – Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Roberto Bautista Agut – will contest the SFs on Day 7 in Madrid. Three-time champion Nadal, who is looking to reach his 90th final, goes up against fellow Spaniard Bautista Agut for the first time, while Ferrer takes on Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori for the seventh time, with their FedEx H2H series tied at 3-3.

GOING FOR FOUR: Nadal remains on course for a fourth Madrid title having won here in 2005 (d. Ljubicic), 2010 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Wawrinka). With Federer and Djokovic’s withdrawal, and Murray’s defeat, he is the only former champion in the draw. For the past nine years (2005-13), he has won at least two European clay-court titles ahead of Roland Garros. The last time he lost more than two matches on clay in a season was 2004 (14-3). Nadal is the all-time ATP Masters 1000 title leader with 26, with his most recent win at this level coming in Cincinnati last August.

HISTORY MAKER: Nishikori will be bidding for his 14th win in succession when he takes on Ferrer. The Japanese No. 1 will rise to No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the expense of John Isner despite what happens today and a final appearance will see him climb to No. 9. The 24 year old will become the first player from his country to break the top 10. The last Asian player to rank in the top 10 was Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan on March 29, 2004 at No. 10. Nishikori, along with Bautista Agut, is looking to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final for the first time. 

UNSEEDED SEMI-FINALISTS: Bautista Agut is the fourth unseeded semi-finalist in Madrid in the past five years: 2013 Andujar (l. to Nadal), 2011 Bellucci (l. to Djokovic) and 2010 Almagro (l. to Nadal). By reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 SF he will jump from No. 45 in the Emirates ATP Rankings into the top 30 for the first time (around No. 27).

23 NOT OUT: Top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan will be bidding for their 24th win in a row when they take on Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero today. The brothers are closing in on 100 career Tour-level titles as a team. They have 98 career titles together (Mike has 100 overall, Bob 98), including five in Madrid (2006-07, ‘10, ‘11, ‘13). The defending champions have won five straight titles in Delray Beach, Indian Wells, Miami, Houston and Monte-Carlo. They compiled a career-best streak of 25 straight wins last year. The other doubles SFs sees Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic take on Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Nestor has lifted the title here on four occasions, winning in 2002, ‘04 and ‘05 alongside Mark Knowles and in 2009 with Zimonjic.

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[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

Nadal reached a 53rd ATP Masters 1000 SF and seventh in Madrid after defeating Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2, saving the one BP he faced. It was his 17th win in a row over the Czech. 
• Nadal posted a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Jarkko Nieminen in the 3R. He took sole ownership of 11th place on the Open Era match wins list with a comfortable 6-1, 6-0 victory over Juan Monaco in the 2R, surpassing the great Arthur Ashe (683-225) in career wins. The next player in his sights is Boris Becker, who sits 10th on 713 wins.
• Nadal leads the way in return games won this week, winning 58% of them (14 of 24). 
• Nadal returns to Madrid for the 12th time. He has lifted the title here on three occasions: 2005 (d. Ljubicic), 2010 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Wawrinka). He has failed to reach the QF just once in the last nine years – in 2012 when he fell to Verdasco in the 3R. 
• Nadal’s last two losses came to compatriots Ferrer (Monte-Carlo QF) & Almagro (Barcelona QF).
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. 
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open final in February. The Spaniard equaled Guillermo Vilas in seventh place on the Open Era titles list with the victory. 
• In Monte-Carlo, Nadal became just the 11th player in the Open Era to win at least 300 matches on clay when he defeated Seppi in the 3R (l. to Ferrer in QF). Countryman Carlos Moya was the last player to win at least 300 career matches on the surface in 2007. 
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time. 
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77). 
• Nadal is bidding to reach his 39th ATP Masters 1000 final (26-12) and 90th overall (62-27).
• Bautista Agut advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 SF after overcoming Andy Murray’s conqueror Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4, saving six of six BPs. He eased past lucky loser Lukasz Kubot, who took Roger Federer’s place in the draw, 6-4, 6-2 in the 3R. In his opening two rounds he posted back-to-back wins over compatriots [16] Tommy Robredo (6-4, 6-4) and Fernando Verdasco (2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1).
Bautista Agut is making his Madrid debut,
• Bautista Agut has posted two top 10 wins this year: defeating world No. 5 Del Potro at the Australian Open (l. to Dimitrov in 4R) and then world No. 5 Berdych in Indian Wells (l. to Gulbis in 4R). His best showing this year came in January when he reached the SF in Auckland (l. to Isner).
• Bautista Agut finished 2013 in the top 60 for the first time, highlighted by a maiden ATP World Tour final appearance in Chennai in the opening week of the season (l. to Wawrinka). 
• Bautista Agut ranked No. 1 on the ATP World Tour for first serve percentage last year with 71%. 
• Bautista Agut is bidding to reach his first Masters 1000 title and second overall. His only previous final outing came in Chennai last year (l. to Tipsarevic). 
• Bautista Agut is 3-6 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 2-1 this year. 

[10] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs [5] David Ferrer (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Series tied 3-3

Nishikori improved his record on clay this year to 9-0 as he saw off Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4, saving three of three BPs. He squeezed past Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in the 3R after overcoming Ivan Dodig and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets in his opening two rounds. 
• Nishikori returns to Madrid for the third time. After falling in the 1R on his debut in 2011 (l. to Riba), the Japanese No. 1 advanced to the QF last year with victory over No. 2 Federer (l. to Andujar).
• Nishikori won his 4th and 5th career titles in Memphis (d. Karlovic in F) and Barcelona (d. Giraldo in F) earlier this year. The victory in Barcelona was his first ever tournament win on a clay court. 
• Nishikori has finished inside the top 25 in the past three seasons while becoming the highest ranked player from his country in ATP history. He reached a career-high No. 11 on June 17, 2013.
• Nishikori is bidding to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final and eighth overall. His previous SF outings at Masters 1000 level came in Miami this year (w/o vs. Djokovic) and Shanghai in 2011 (l. to Murray).
Ferrer advanced to his 14th ATP Masters 1000 SF with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Ernests Gulbis
• Ferrer rose to 27th on the Open Era all-time wins list with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over John Isner in the 3R, surpassing Mats Wilander (571). He’s now two wins short of equaling Carlos Moya (575). He opened his account with a 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-3 victory over countryman Albert Ramos.
• Ferrer returns to Madrid for the 12th time. He advanced to the SF just once before, losing at that stage to Federer in 2010.  
• Ferrer clinched his 21st ATP World Tour title in Buenos Aires in February when he defeated Fabio Fognini in the final, ending a seven-match losing streak in ATP finals. 
• Ferrer’s best performance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this year came in Monte-Carlo, where he ended a 17-match losing streak against Nadal on clay in the QF before falling to eventual champ Wawrinka in the SF. His win over Nadal was his fifth career victory over the reigning world No. 1: vs Nadal (3 times), Djokovic and Agassi. He also became the fourth player to beat Nadal multiple times on clay: Djokovic (3), Gaudio (3) and Federer (2).
• Ferrer finished the 2013 season at a year-end best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was the third year in a row he finished inside the top five and also the fourth straight year in which he won at least 55 matches. He played an ATP-high 84 matches during the season.
• Ferrer is contesting his 14th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF (6-7) and is trying to reach his seventh Masters 1000 final (1-5) and 44th overall. His lone title at this level came in Paris-Bercy in 2012 (d. Janowicz).


[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [10] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 6-0

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [5] David Ferrer (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 21-6

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [10] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nishikori leads 1-0

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [5] David Ferrer (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Ferrer leads 2-0

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