Tennis giant Nadal beats Thiem, wins fifth title at Madrid Masters

TENNIS-ATP-MADRID-OPEN

Rafael Nadal has won the Madrid Open after a grueling encounter with Dominic Thiem.

Fourth seed Rafael Nadal will eye a fifth crown at Madrid Open when he takes on eighth seed Dominic Thiem in the Men's singles final on Sunday.

Nadal was brutal coming in to the second set, breaking straight away, and denying Thiem a chance to try and break back immediately, from that point on no quarter was given until Nadal pushed and pressed fir a break to finish with Thiem saving two match points in the process.

Nadal overpowered Djokovic from the start, and converted on his third match point to earn his first victory against the second-ranked Serb since the 2014 French Open final. Little by little Thiem worked his way back into the breaker, having and saving two set points in succession, but it was Nadal who would edge the first set tie-break.

Nadal broke Thiem to start the second and carried it all the way to the end of the set, where he ran into trouble closing out as Thiem made one final push. The last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years.

My concern would be he's attempting more history this week - he's never previously played Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome in the same season, never mind won all four.

Nadal went on to go 40-0 up when Thiem served at 5-6 but the Austrian reeled off a string of scintillating winners and saved all three set points.

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Nadal held his serve to love in the ensuing game to move ahead at 6-5, and Thiem drove on to the tiebreak despite his opponent's best efforts to avoid any need with a last-ditch break attempt. "I couldn't imagine this when I woke up this morning, I always believed, but I wasn't sure how I was going to play".

"I could have played better", Djokovic said. "They were really good years for Novak", Nadal told in the press conference after the match. In this season, athletes have met, in the final tournament in Barcelona, Nadal won 6: 4,6: 1. "It means a lot because it gives me confidence for the bigger tournaments". Also after losing to Nadal in the finals of the Barcelona Open last month, Thiem will be determined to get one over him.

Nadal will be confirmed as the new world number four, replacing 18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, when the new rankings come out on Monday.

In the Women's Madrid Open, defending champion Simona Halep cruised back into the final for the third time in four years with a 6-2, 6-3 success over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.

"Novak is someone that I don't have good record [against]", the Japanese said. It was his first final in a Masters 1000 event.

He was broken to trail 1-2 in the first set but responded three games later before nicking a superb tie-break 10-8.

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