Cristiano Ronaldo present as Rafael Nadal defeats Djokovic

Taylor Byrd
May 17, 2017

Dominic Thiem lost to Rafael Nadal for the second time in a row after the Barcelona final, also this time in straight sets, but the match was more balanced in Madrid.

The win is not only Nadal's third title of 2017 but also his 30th Masters 1000 title, the joint-most along with Novak Djokovic, and extends his clay-court season record to 15-0.

It feels ironic that the only times that Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have ever met is on clay, with only one win for the young Austrian in Buenos Aires a year ago.

“Anything could have happened at the end of the first set, but I think I played well the important points at the end, ” Nadal said.

The Spaniard and four-time victor in Madrid got off to a dream start in the 50th meeting between the two great rivals, winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic, with the home crowd wildly celebrating his first point - a potent return which the Serbian could only hit into the ground.

There were few other sniffs for either player on serve from there, but when the opportunity arose for Thiem in game nine he did not pass up the opportunity.

"To play here and win here means a lot to me", said Nadal afterwards.

Nadal's tour-leading 32nd victory set up a semifinal against defending champion Novak Djokovic, who advanced when Kei Nishikori withdrew before their match because of a wrist injury.

However, Thiem did manage to get the better of Nadal on clay in the 2016 Buenos Aires semi-finals; so it will be interesting to see how this match goes. I did well in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and also here.

The Spaniard won 6-2 6-4 to claim his first victory over the Serb since the 2014 French Open final.

"I know Novak has made some changes in his coaching staff and I am sure he is a rival who is going to battle for all of the major titles in the future", he added. "It's logical that after a hard week, I've been playing a lot of matches, a lot of hours out there on the court, I feel like it's sore, a little bit exhausted".

In the head-to-head record between the two Madrid Open finalists, Nadal has won three out of the four matches against Thiem with Nadal's latest win coming in the finals of the Barcelona Open. Then he will try to win his 10th title at Roland Garros, where he won his last Grand Slam title three years ago.

"Things are working out, and I'm very happy for that", he said after his two-hour and 17-minute tussle with a powerful and energetic Thiem.

Nadal improves to 47-10 with five titles at Madrid.

Thiem, in his first Masters final, took the initiative first, making the most of what seemed like a tardy start from Nadal, breaking and consolidating for a 3-1 lead. They are very important tournaments for me. The champions have claimed 60 of the past 65 Masters 1000 crowns, dating back to 2010 Monte-Carlo. I think what is logical is to go to Rome, try to give 100 per cent.

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