Nadal brushes Berdych aside
Defending champion Rafael Nadal breezed into the Madrid Open semi-finals with his 17th consecutive win over Tomas Berdych.
The world No 1, who arrived at this tournament with concerns over his form, produced a dominant display of claycourt tennis to brush aside the Czech 6-4 6-2 in just under an hour and a half.
Nadal also ended his quarter-final curse following exits to David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro at the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open respectively in recent weeks.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion hit 24 winners and made just 14 unforced errors to cruise into the last four without the loss of a set in front of a partisan crowd.
"It was my most complete game," said Nadal, who made no attempt to contain his emotions.
Berdych's last victory over Nadal came in the Spanish capital in 2006.
Nadal will face his fellow countryman Roberto Bautista Agut in Saturday's semi-final after the 45th-ranked player beat Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-4.
World No 5 David Ferrer became the third Spaniard to reach the semi-finals with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis, but it will not be an historic all-Spanish final four.
Feliciano Lopez was unable to complete the homegrown line-up as he lost out to in-form Japanese star Kei Nishikori in their final quarter-final tie.
Nishikori won 6-4 6-4 after 90 minutes on court to claim a 13th victory in a row as his hot streak continues, although it will be put to the test with a semi-final clash with Ferrer next up.