Rafael Nadal will never be presented a smoother route to a tournament title than he has been in the 2013 Madrid Open.
Injuries dropped the former ATP World Tour No. 1 to No. 5 in the rankings, but he’s the best left in Spain by far. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 to Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, No. 2 Roger Federer lost 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to Kei Nishikori in the third round and No. 3 Andy Murray lost 6-7, 4-6 to Tomas Berdych. Nadal also knocked off fellow Spaniard No. 4 David Ferrer to reach the semifinals.
Berdych is the only player remaining ranked in the top 14 in the world other than Rafa. The Czech only has eight singles titles under his belt compared to a whopping 54 for the Spaniard. Nadal has also beat Berdych 13 straight times, including this season at Indian Wells.
An overwhelming lack of talent isn’t the only thing that should make the final two rounds of the Madrid Open a cakewalk for Nadal. The King of Clay also gets to play on his favorite surface.
The only way Nadal’s route could become any smoother is if his remaining competition—Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka and Pablo Andujar—catch the flu.
"Clearly the favorite for this tournament is Nadal," said Roger Federer, according to ESPN.
The Swiss superstar made this claim prior to Murray’s elimination.
Rafa has only suffered two defeats this season. One was at the racket of Djoker, who’s long gone. On clay, there’s no way he’ll be served loss No. 3.
Expect him to roll to a 2013 Madrid Open victory with the greatest of ease.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and a news editor at Wade-O Radio.