Nadal continues fine form with Madrid Open title


Thiem resisted three championship points but Nadal seized the fourth with a drop shot to the back of the court to clinch his third consecutive clay-court crown, after winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April, and the 72nd tournament win of his career.

Rafael Nadal has won his fifth Madrid Open title courtesy of a straight-sets victory over Dominic Thiem this evening. It was his first final in a Masters 1000 event.

The Serbian player was in control during his service games and broke Lopez once in each set to secure the victory.

The marathon first set lasted a minute under an hour-and-a-half and seemed to drain Thiem’s belief as well as his energy resources as he was broken to start the second set.

Nadal, a four-time champion in Madrid, had an easier time in the second set after earning an early break, and closed out the match with another at the end.

Kristina Mladenovic of France advanced to the final four by overcoming seven double faults to beat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-4, 6-4. If he was going down, he would be going down with a fight.

Eighth seed Thiem can take great heart from his performance, which was a vast improvement from his Barcelona Open defeat to Nadal, with the Austrian keeping the 14-times Grand Slam victor concerned throughout with some brutal baseline hitting. The Caja Magica erupted, then sighed when Nadal netted an easy overhead, but was soon on its feet again when he served big to hold, 2-0. Fortunately I managed to come back and break…

“I think today the decision is completely different, the situation is different”. I played well also. He was defending it well. “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 expecting the best Djokovic tomorrow. “I am always very nervous and emotional to play a final in Madrid“. But in December or January, I was not expecting to play badly, because I knew I was doing a very good off-season. “Things can turn around quickly in tennis”. “I started the match OK, but when I started to go behind I didn’t find any way to improve my game or to make it more hard for him”. The ball was bouncing very high. I’m playing with a lot of joy. I made a lot of unforced errors.

“After that, I calmed down”. 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.

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