Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Rafael Nadal Makes It to Madrid Open Final After Beating Novak Djokovic

Hilda Schwartz | 17 May, 2017, 01:45

Those matchups always mean something, and it was obvious Nadal was the better player. I made a lot of unforced errors, especially in the first set, said Djokovic, "I felt like I was playing well throughout the week". I just try to go for all of them. "What's important to me is to make it to another final".

The Spaniard was as relentless as ever on Sunday, answering everything Dominic Thiem tossed at him during the Mutua Madrid Open final to overcome the Austrian 7-6 (8), 6-4 in La Caja Mágica.

"These last few weeks have been very special".

Nadal, who was out for much of past year because of a wrist injury, has won 30 of his last 32 sets going into the tournament in Rome this week.

With Sunday's victory, Nadal increased his career title count to 72 which includes 52 wins on clay, four on grass and 16 championships on hard courts.

Thiem again showed impressive poise to battle back from two match points down at 3-5 to force Nadal to serve out for the title. He took the match in two sets against the youngster Dominic Thiem.

Nadal edged a bruising first set after blowing eight break points with a top-class tiebreak, playing adventurous shots which sapped Goffin's energy and the world number 10 ceded the final point with a double fault.

In the tie-break, Thiem continued to challenge the "King of Clay", erasing set points four and five before Nadal claimed one of the best sets of the year when Thiem sailed a forehand long. I'm expecting the best Djokovic tomorrow. "After that I went for it".

Nadal will be expected to continue his dominance over Thiem later on Sunday, May 14, and given the way he has dominated the clay court tournaments this year, the Spaniard will be expected to win the Madrid Open.

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"I am convinced that Thiem will be a candidate to win big tournaments in the following years".

Despite the loss, Cuevas can be pleased with reaching his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

“It was a good fight out there. 'I got a break in the first game.

Nadal has a tour-leading 34 victories in what has been a superb season following some lean years for the 14-time Grand Slam champion.

An open era record 50th meeting between Nadal and Djokovic served to highlight the Serb's dramatic dip in form since they last met in Rome nearly exactly a year ago. Things are going very well and I'm very happy, "Nadal was quoted as saying by the tournament's website".

He defeated Djokovic in the semifinals in Madrid, snapping a seven-match winless streak against the second-ranked Serb.

"I am humble enough to come here and say that I was nervous", said Nadal.

Ronaldo could be seen smiling with joy as Nadal closed out the final set and booking his place in the latter stage of the tournament.

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