Rafael Nadal beat Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-4 to reach the Italian Open final on Saturday with a dominant performance that he described as emotional after his long injury absence. Nadal will have the chance to win his sixth title since his comeback when he faces either Roger Federer or Benoit Paire in Sunday’s final.
The sport’s dominant claycourt player was at his aggressive best in dismantling Berdych,breaking in the first and fifth games of a one-sided first set before clinching a decisive advantage in the ninth game of the second. Nadal wrapped it up when his opponent sent a backhand return long and then said he could not have hoped to be playing better after his lengthy layoff.
I am feeling better physically, the 11-times grand slam winner said. These are emotional moments for me as I think I have managed to turn around a situation in which after many months of doubts I am able to play at a level that I would not have dreamed of four months ago.
Serena Williams crushed Romanian qualifier Simona Halep 6-3 6-0 to book her place in the women’s final and extend her winning streak to 23 matches. Williams will face Victoria Azarenka in Sunday’s final after the third seed beat last year’s French Open finalist Sara Errani 6-0 7-5.
Bhupathi-Bopanna in semis
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna reached the semifinals of the Rome Masters after getting a walkover from rivals Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek even as Sania Mizra and Bethanie Mattek-Sands crashed out of the womens event. Sania and Bethanies campaign ended in the womens doubles after their 4-6 3-6 defeat against top seeds and local favourites Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.