Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Nadal continues fine form with Madrid Open title

Nadal continues fine form with Madrid Open title Nadal continues fine form with Madrid Open title
Rita Gibson | 19 May, 2017, 15:18

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.

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.

However, the 23-year-old claimed the first break of serve for a 2-1 lead in the opening set before Nadal got back on terms in the sixth game, with Thiem then saving three set points at 5-4 down on his way to forcing a tie-break.

Some said his best days were behind him but he will now be highly fancied to win a 10th French title at Roland Garros when action begins later this month in Paris. Im very happy for what I achieved, ” Nadal said. "To win against Novak by that score you have to be playing very well, otherwise it's impossible", said Nadal.

Thiem drew first blood with a break for 2-1, but Nadal, using the drop shot often to take advantage of Thiem's court depth, broke back for 3-3.

The Czech needed only one hour and 16 minutes to run out a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 victor and bridge a gap of five places in the world rankings. Thiem again responded with a fierce battle with Nadal serving for the match but Nadal finally put him away with a forehead victor to end the 2-hour, 18-minute match.

The first set went to a tie break in which Nadal always looked to be on top, but it was not until the fifth time of asking that he was able to win the decisive point. "After that I went for it".

It doesn't seem like anybody who's been playing in these tournaments can beat Nadal, in fact, he's only lost two sets in the three tournaments that he's won.

Djokovic hasn't reached a final since winning his first tournament of the year in Doha in January.

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"It was a good fight out there".

"I think it was a tough match since the beginning, especially here in altitude, which is hard to make breaks against a player like Thiem".

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.

The victory leaves Nadal in flawless shape for the Roland Garros where the French Open is set to kick off in a week's time.

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

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

It's a spring Sunday in 2017, which means, yes, Rafael Nadal has won another title on clay. I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona. I really enjoy these tournaments.

"This is a very emotional period of the season". "I hope you understand and respect that".

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