Nadal Stays Perfect During Claycourt Season, Beating Thiem in ATP Madrid Final

19 Mai, 2017, 15:25 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier
  • Nadal Stays Perfect During Claycourt Season, Beating Thiem in ATP Madrid Final

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal and Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem pose with their trophies at the end of their ATP Madrid Open final match in Madrid.

Appearing in his eighth Madrid Open final-also a record high in the competition-the home favourite sailed to victory despite Thiem's best efforts to keep Nadal caged on his favoured clay surface.

It was Nadals second straight win against the 23-year-old Austrian, coming two weeks after the Barcelona Open final when the fifth-ranked Spaniard cruised to victory in straight sets.

Nadal did not face the toughest competition in Monte-Carlo but has since answered any questions with two victories over Thiem, a second win over a more-rested David Goffin, and his first time beating Djokovic in three years.

"The truth is I was up against an opponent who, in the next five to 10 years, will be fighting for the most important titles, so I'm very happy to have won, ” Nadal said. Returning the ball is hard, especially when he hits it so high", said Nadal after the win.

The 14-times grand-slam victor broke in the opening game of the second set and saved a break point in the next, maintaining a two-game advantage until a thrilling 10th game.

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The first set lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes.

But the Spaniard broke back for 3-3 in typically gutsy fashion, winning an epic rally to set up break point and converting when Thiem netted a volley.

“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. In game 7 Novak saved a set point with a service victor and he managed to hold and reduce the deficit to 5-2, starting to play a little bit better and imposing his shots to shake off the pressure from his back. "After that I went for it". The 2017 Monte Carlo Masters was his first title victory since April. 2016 when he beat Kei Nishikori in the finals at Barcelona.

“It was a good fight out there. 'I got a break in the first game. Sometimes against the best players in the world, you even lose when you play well.

A 14-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal is now strong favourite to collect a 10th French Open crown next month, and this victory also moves him above Roger Federer to fourth in the world rankings. Last year, Nadal picked up a wrist injury in Madrid and played through it in Rome before eventually withdrawing from Roland Garros ahead of his third round there. "Let's respect his level right now because it's true that perhaps it's not as high as it used to be, but I'm telling you, it's been a lot of years, and I know because I've been in his skin, being up there every single week, being No. 1 every single week, it's nearly impossible". "I'm not thinking about the race or anything like that", said Nadal.

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