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Nadal returns to Madrid final

Defending champion Rafael Nadal saw-off the challenge of compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to reach the ATP Mutua Madrid Open final.

The No 1 beat his unseeded opponent 6-4 6-3 in one hour 43 minutes to record his 50th straight semi-final win on clay.

It looked like it could be an easy day for the defending champion when he broke the Bautista Agut serve in the opening game.

However, the world number 45 fought back and broke Nadal to level the first set at 3-3.

But Nadal upped his tempo, taking seven games on the trot to win the first set and move a double break up in the second.

But Bautista Agut again showed the fighting spirit which had carried him to the last four, by first surviving two break points and then breaking Nadal to close to 4-3.

However, Nadal again found an extra gear to take the final two games and claim the victory.

The Spanish ace will next face either compatriot David Ferrer or Japanese star Kei Nishikori in Sunday's showpiece as he bids to win his fourth title at the event.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion is aiming for his first title of the European clay court season after suffering shock defeats in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters - where he was beaten by Ferrer - and Barcelona Open.