Murray through to Madrid Open last four

Andy Murray

Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal in last year’s Madrid Open final

Defending champion Andy Murray beat Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2 to progress to the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

The Scot produced arguably his best performance of the season to record a first win over the Czech on clay.

Murray, who beat 16th seed Gilles Simon to reach the quarter-finals, won 92% of his first-serve points and denied eighth-seed Berdych any break points.

The world number two, 28, will next face either Rafael Nadal or Joao Sousa in the last four at La Caja Magica.

Home favourite Nadal, who is looking for a third successive tournament victory following his wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, meets Portuguese world number 35 Sousa later on Friday.

Murray broke Berdych’s first service game of the match and quickly established a 3-0 lead in the opening set.

World number eight Berdych managed to hold off another break opportunity at 5-2, but Murray won his next service game to take the set in 45 minutes.

Murray then broke Berdych’s serve in the fifth game of the second set, before closing out the match with minimal fuss to complete the victory in one hour and 16 minutes.

The former Wimbledon and US Open champion says he is ready for a possible semi-final against Nadal, after training with the 14-time Grand Slam winner ahead of the tournament.

“You prepare to play against the best clay court player of all time and get yourself ready for that challenge mentally,” he told BBC Sport.

“I practised with him in Mallorca for a few days, which was good.

“It’s great practice, but you can see some things, as well.”

Murray believes his game is in good shape ahead of the French Open, which begins on 22 May, after a remodelling of his second serve over the winter.

“It is easy to say hit the second serve harder, but sometimes you need to make technical adjustments and have coaching on that,” he said.

“I had to make some changes to my serve, and I did a lot of research on it myself.

“I feel much more comfortable going bigger on the second serve, as there is a lot more spin on it.

“I can control the serve better, which frees me up to go more on my first serve as well.”

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