Nadal Smashes Djokovic And Advances To The Finals

Imperious Nadal outclasses Djokovic to reach Madrid final

Imperious Nadal outclasses Djokovic to reach Madrid final

Rafael Nadal admits that he is "playing with joy" after he captured a 15th consecutive match win by defeating Dominic Thiem in straight sets to lift a fifth Madrid Open title on Sunday. Novak Djokovic of Serbia looks down as he reacts to playing a bad shot and losing a point against Rafael Nadal of Spain during their mens semifinal tennis match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Sat.

The triumph at his home tournament gave Nadal his 72nd career title, and 52nd on clay.

The Spaniard has won the Madrid Masters for the fifth time with a 7-6, 6-4 victory over young Austrian Dominic Thiem.

Rafael Nadal's French Open credentials were boosted further when he claimed a record-equalling 30th ATP 1000 title at the Madrid Open on Sunday.

Three days rest should have helped him recover some energy, but I'm still not hugely convinced he is ready to challenge at these elite-level events - despite accumulating a 10-3 record on clay this year, he's only managed a 106.1% combined hold/break percentage, indicating that he has managed to win a good few tight matches. The reason I bring this up is because Thiem is probably the second best clay courter who has played in these tournaments Nadal dominated, especially considering the recent lackluster performances from Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, and Nadal beat him handily both times.

The Serbian player was in control during his service games and broke Lopez once in each set to secure the victory. Thiem saved two championship points to hold for 4-5 and then earned four break points against Nadal's serve in the next game. "After that I went for it".

"It was a game where I had to play well. I made a lot of unforced errors", added Djokovic. 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 (knee) sore, a little bit exhausted.

"This drop in level for Djokovic has to do with his fight to be No. 1 and to win as many matches as possible", Nadal said. In this season, athletes have met, in the final tournament in Barcelona, Nadal won 6: 4,6: 1. But, again, I just had an opponent that was too good.

"What I'm really happy about, I really enjoy, is to achieve a title like here in Madrid, to win a title like this".

"This is a very emotional period of the season. I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona", Thiem said. He is the King of Clay, victor of 91.8 per cent of his matches and 52 titles on the surface. He also beat Thiem in the Barcelona title match. "I hope you understand and respect that".

The Madrid Open started the rivalry, with the Caja Magica witnessing an engrossing semi-final in 2009 lasting over four hours which Nadal won after saving three match points.

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