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Rupert Wyman 15th May 2010 - 21:07

King of Clay Nadal to reign supreme in Madrid

Rafael Nadal has been in blistering form in recent weeks. It is hardly a surprise though as for the first time in a while he looks fit and he is playing on his beloved clay.

This season on the red stuff the Spaniard owns a fantastic 14-0 record and he has won 28 of 30 sets.

One of the two sets he has dropped was in the semi-finals in Madrid against his compatriot Nicolas Almagro. Nevertheless the victory over Almagro has seen Nadal reclaim his number two world ranking from Novak Djokovic.

It has also guaranteed Nadal to be the number two seed at the French Open.

Mission one for Nadal this week was to reach the final to become world number two and the second part of his objective was to win the tournament to seal a record-breaking 18th Masters title. If he does win the final he will also become the first player to win all three clay-court Masters titles in the same season.

Nadal is 1/3 to do this and it is a must bet. He may be facing a certain Roger Federer in the final but even the world number one is no match for Rafa on clay, especially when he is in the groove as he is now.

Feds will probably come into the final more tired than Nadal as not only was he involved in the second semi-final on Saturday, which was a real three-set battle against the in-form David Ferrer, he also was taken to three sets in Friday's quarter-final against Ernests Gulbis.

Nadal v Federer is obviously the dream final in whatever tournament it is, but those watching on Sunday could well witness a rather one-sided affair.

I fully expect Nadal to claim the Masters titles record at the same time as improving to 30 sets won out of 32 on clay this season.

It is 5/6 that the King of Clay wins in straight sets.

If successful the Majorcan will be winning the Madrid title for the second time in his career. His first success came back in 2005 when he defeated Ivan Ljubicic, when the tournament was held indoors.

Rafa will be ultra keen to avenge last year's Madrid final loss to Federer. Last year was the first time the tournament had been on clay and many expected Rafa to win but instead Feds picked up his second career Madrid title.

Last year's final was the last meeting between the world's best two players but prior to that defeat Nadal had won five in a row, three of which were on clay.

Therefore the title and the record should be there for the taking for Nadal. If he fails though Federer will clinch a record-equalling 17 Masters titles as well as his 63rd career singles title.



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