Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in Madrid Open final
16 Mai, 2017, 13:10 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier
Rafael Nadal's flawless record on clay this season continued as he outgunned the impressive Dominic Thiem to win the Madrid Masters for a fifth time 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 yesterday.
Nadal withstood a tough challenge from the ninth-ranked Thiem, converting on his fourth match point to earn his 15th straight victory on clay and tie Novak Djokovic's record of 30 career titles in Masters 1,000 events.
It was the 14th straight victory for the fifth-ranked Nadal, and his tour-leading 33rd for the year.
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 a year ago, surrendered his serve again in the third game, and Nadal held to go 4-0 up.
Djokovic was playing his first tournament since splitting from his long-term coaching team and won just four points in the opening four games as he fell 4-0 down to a rejuvenated Nadal.
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after the men's singles semifinal match against Novac Djokovic of Serbia at the Mutua Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2017.
Nadal had to stave off a break point on his own serve to consolidate the break for 2-0.
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Both players were producing some brilliant winners but Nadal eventually took the breaker 10-8 when Thiem's usually trusty forehand flew just long to end a set which had lasted nearly an hour and a half.
Rafael Nadal is now on his customary clay cruise this time of the year, something we did not witness over the past couple of seasons.
In the Women's Madrid Open, defending champion Simona Halep cruised back into the final for the third time in four years with a 6-2, 6-3 success over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova. Winning is very important but also the way I'm playing at the moment makes me very relaxed. I really enjoy these tournaments. Anything could have happened at the end of the first set.
However, that run was emphatically ended as Nadal, willed on by a fervent home support including Cristiano Ronaldo in the VIP boxes, made the flawless start by breaking the Djokovic serve to love. After an imbalanced schedule gave Thiem a late night finish on Saturday, the young Austrian came out firing in his first Masters final and broke Nadal for a 3-1 lead, but lost it due to a combination of bad volleys at net and the Spaniard's all-world defense.
"If I am No4 and I played badly, I'm not going to have chances".
His backhand shone in the first-set tie-break and, after wasting four set points, the 14-time grand slam champion moved ahead when Thiem blazed a forehand long.
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