Cristiano Ronaldo was watching on from courtside as his friend Rafael Nadal pulled off a huge victory over World No 2 Novak Djokovic to reach the Madrid Open final.
The Serb successfully defended two match points in the final match and even had a match-point before Nadal claimed the match and ended a run of seven successive defeats to Djokovic to set up his eighth final in Madrid.
A year to the day from the 49th meeting between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the two legends showed just how much things can change in that time.
Defending champion Djokovic, who broke with long-time coach Marian Vajda and his staff the week before the tournament in a bid to reverse his downward trajectory of results in the previous year, surrendered his serve again in the third game, and Nadal held to go 4-0 up.
Djokovic, playing his first tournament since parting company with his long-serving coaching staff, was unable to live with an in-form fourth seed who is his firing on all cylinders ahead of the French Open.
Nadal awaits the victor of first-time Masters semifinalists Dominic Thiem and Pablo Cuevas. The Caja Magica erupted, then sighed when Nadal netted an easy overhead, but was soon on its feet again when he served big to hold, 2-0.
Romania's Simona Halep successfully defended her Madrid Open title in the Women's Tennis Association Premier Mandatory event. As time goes by, what is important is the titles, not the opponents that you have beaten. "It's true that some matches are more important than others", Livetennis.com quoted Nadal as saying.
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"What's important to me is to make it to another final", said Nadal. "When? I don't know, maybe in a few months, but he will definitely get another great win again". I made a lot of unforced errors, especially the first set...
A year on from a triumph that suggested Murray had finally mastered the toughest surface of them all, the 29-year-old is back to square one after a humiliating exit to unseeded 20-year-old Croat Borna Coric before the business end of the Madrid Masters began earlier this week.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion had a slice of fortune as a let cord and a Kyrgios double fault handed him the two breaks he needed to take the first set.
"It will be a very hard match against one of the best sportsmen this sport has ever had, and to have a chance I'll have to be at my very best", Nadal said. Nadal and Djokovic could meet in the semifinals again next week in Rome, assuming Nadal remains in the draw after playing his 15 match in 26 days on Sunday. He broke Djokovic at love in the very first game, and it was off to the races. "I'll try to be 100% and ready for tomorrow's match".
He certainly looked like his old self as he beat Djokovic 6-2, 6-4 in their 50meeting on the tour.
"I tried my best". I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome. "His quality was very high and he managed to do whatever he wanted, especially in the first set".