Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Nadal dismisses Djokovic's conqueror Berdych to reach Rome final

May 18, 2013 -- Updated 1948 GMT (0348 HKT)
Power play: Nadal outmuscled Berdych to reach the Rome Masters final.
Power play: Nadal outmuscled Berdych to reach the Rome Masters final.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal reaches eighth straight final since his comeback
  • Nadal dismisses Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-4 in Rome Masters semi
  • He will play Roger Federer in the title match
  • Serena Williams takes on Victoria Azarenka in women's final

(CNN) -- Tomas Berdych may have upset World No.1 Novak Djokovic but found Rafael Nadal an altogether tougher proposition in the semifinals of the Rome Masters Saturday.

Nadal was at his impeccable best to sweep aside the big-hitting Czech 6-2 6-4 to reach his eighth straight ATP Tour final since returning to action in February after a long-term injury.

He will face his long-time rival Roger Federer after the Swiss ended the hopes of France's Benoit Paire with a 7-6 6-4 win in the second semifinal.

Berdych's defeat of Djokovic in the quarters would have done wonders for his confidence, but it took precisely one game for a reality check to set in.

Nadal came out firing on all cylinders to break his opponent immediately and he was never headed.

Nadal challenger makes a splash
Maharajas play host
Rafael Nadal returns to the court
Relaxing with Rafa

The crowd at the Foro Italico were treated to a clay court exhibition, particularly in the first set as the 26-year-old Spaniard broke Berdych a second time to rub it in.

The second set was closer and Berdych, who broke Djokovic's service as the Serbian served for the match in the previous round, gave himself a glimmer of hope by holding fast to four games apiece.

But he was broken for a third time as Nadal stepped up a gear before wrapping up his passage to the final.

Read: Nadal survives scare in Rome last 16

"He starts really well and, of course, it's Rafa and we know how he plays on clay," Berdych told the official ATP Tour website.

"It was a good start for him. Yesterday I had one chance that I did take and I won, and today I had one chance that I didn't take and I lost."

Nadal had achieved the incredible feat of winning all 100% of points after his second service as he made it 13 straight wins on the tour over the unfortunate Berdych.

He will be heavy favorite to win his 24th Masters 1,000 crown Sunday before heading to Paris for his defense of the French Open crown.

"The first set was fantastic," Nadal said. "I played at a high level and everything went well with no mistakes. I was dominating the points and following to the net. I think I played one of my best matches since I am came back."

Federer, who has been in fine form in Rome, was given a stern test by Paire, particularly in the first set, but used his experience to good effect to set up a repeat of his 2006 final in the Italian capital against Nadal.

Earlier, women's World No. 1 Serena Williams ended the hopes of Romanian qualifier Simona Halep with a routine 6-3 6-0 win in their semifinal.

15-time grand slam champion Williams is on a 23-game winning streak and will look to extend that against No.3 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

The American is 32-1 on clay since last year -- her only loss against Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros last year.

"I don't know if I feel better on clay this year or last year," Williams told the WTA Tour website.

"I felt great last year and I feel great this year too. I love playing on clay and have done very well on it, even at Roland Garros."

Azarenka beat Italian seventh seed 6-0 7-5 Sara Errani in their last four clash.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
ADVERTISEMENT