Rafael Nadal ousts Novak Djokovic — Madrid Open

Nadal is now on an unbeaten run of 14 matches and is looking to win his fifth title here at Madrid while Thiem is looking to win his second title of the year.

A win will grant Nadal his 30th Masters title, equalling the record held by his vanquished opponent, Djokovic.

After beating Djokovic in the semi-finals, Nadal could have been forgiven for expecting a somewhat easier contest against Thiem, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 final.

Both players had their chances in the tie-break at the end of an hour-long first set, but eventually it was Nadal who prevailed with his fifth set point when Thiem fired long.

The pair served up a sizzling second set, especially in the seventh game when Nadal finally broke the Belgian for a second time in the set at the fourth attempt after sensational rallies which had spectators in the Caja Magica rising to their feet in appreciation. The 14-time Grand Slam victor should be heading into the match high on confidence as he had beaten Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in the final of Barcelona only last month, which was also his third win over the world number nine in four meetings on clay. "I wasn't winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match".

Thiem also fell victim to Nadal's supreme form in the final in Barcelona two weeks ago, but there was little for the 23-year-old to be dispirited about as he pushed Nadal all the way in his first Masters series final. Tomorrow I'll wake up with joy, and I will want to do things even better.


Passes the idle Roger Federer in the rankings, guaranteeing a top-4 seed at the French Open regardless of what happens in Rome. "I wasn't building any points really".

Nadal, who was out for much of previous year because of a wrist injury, has won 30 of his last 32 sets going into the tournament in Rome this week. I am happy the way I played today, being able to make it to the final once again. After a decent start to the season, where he played three hard court finals - including Australian Open and the Miami Masters - Nadal looks comfortable on his preferred turf and is easily the man to beat till the clay season culminates. And the outcome of that match would give us an idea of what might transpire in Rome, and more importantly Roland Garros starting later this month. I won three trophies on the ground this year.

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

After watching Real Madrid playing in La Liga, Nadal trotted along to press where, as always, e had to bat away the speculation of the Ultimate Decimal.

The downside for the Italian is he's got a poor record in Rome, winning just five of 14 matches, a fact that puts me off siding with him at 80/1 in the outright market.

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