Rafael Nadal swept to the Madrid Masters title on Sunday, defeating 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 in another commanding display to claim his third title at the tournament and take his tally of clay-court crowns to 40, equaling Thomas Muster’s haul. The Spaniard is now six shy of Guillermo Vilas’s all-time record on the surface and moves to 23 titles in ATP 1000 competitions, another record.
In front of an expectant audience on Court Manolo Santana, the world number five broke the Swiss in the opening game and raced to a 4-0 lead. Wawrinka, who has played excellent tennis in Madrid after capturing the Portugal Open title last week, was clearly affected by his last two matches. In the quarterfinals the Swiss, who will re-enter the top 10 for the first time since 2008 on Monday, was on court until 1.30am, and he required three grueling sets to dispatch last year’s beaten finalist Tomas Berdych on Saturday.
Nadal, meanwhile, won two of the last five sets contested to love and had little trouble steamrollering Pablo Andújar on Saturday after a being stretched by David Ferrer a day earlier.
Nadal closed out a half-hour first set with an ace, but Wawrinka rediscovered the serving form that stumped Berdych on Saturday in the second to hold twice without dropping a point. Nadal, though, was in imperious form and smashed the Swiss’s resistance in the seventh game, Wawrinka firing a pair of double faults to hand the Spaniard the advantage. Nadal was not to be denied from there and cruised to his second title in the capital since the tournament switched to clay in 2009 in just 71 minutes.
Since returning in February from an injury lay-off spanning seven months, Nadal has contested the final of every tournament he has played, winning in Barcelona, Indian Wells, São Paulo and Acapulco. The newly minted Madrid champion holds a 26-2 record so far in 2013, with just one loss on clay going into the Rome Masters. From there Nadal will be plotting his assault on an eighth Roland Garros championship.