MADRID (AP) Continuing to impress on clay ahead of the French Open, Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday to reach his second straight Madrid Open final.
Murray fought off a strong challenge by Nadal, serving eight aces and saving 11 break points to win a rematch of last year's final at the Masters tournament.
Murray needs to successfully defend his title on Sunday to avoid losing the No. 2 ranking to Roger Federer. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic plays No. 6 Kei Nishikori in the other semifinal on Saturday.
Nadal had his chances but failed on the decisive points, falling short on his attempt to win a third consecutive title this season.
It was Nadal's first loss after 13 straight wins in 2016.