Rafael Nadal lifts title to match Novak Djokovic's record — Madrid Open
17 May, 2017, 01:40 | Author: Felix Jensen
In the final of the men's Mutua Madrid Open, 23-year-old Austrian Dominic Tim will compete for the title with 30-year-old Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
But battle-hardened Nadal prevailed with his fifth set point having already saved two of Thiem's.
The first game of the second set suggested not: two dire misses and it was break point, and a netted forehand finished it off. 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.
"His so-called slump has seen him fight for the number one ranking in the last game of the year".
"It will be a very hard match against one of the best sportsmen this sport has ever had, and to have a chance I'll have to be at my very best", Nadal said. "I'm on the right track", added Nadal.
"All in all, I did try my best". "But it's just one of these days where your opponent is just playing better than you, and you have to be able to say, 'congratulations, ' and move on". With his fifth Madrid Masters title, Nadal received 1,000 points and rose to World No. 4 in the ATP rankings after starting the new season with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over his future. "It means a lot because it gives me confidence for the bigger tournaments". Im very happy for what I achieved, Nadal said. After that I went for it.. "But, you know, I have lots of good things to take out of this week".
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I mean, seriously, there were more nines, eight and sevens on scorecards than what you see at the Miss America pageant. It just shows you how good a player he is and how cool and calm he is. "Never once did he look flustered at all".
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Indeed, even with Djokovic opening serve, Nadal won the first four points for an immediate break, helped by a couple of uncharacteristic errors from the Serb. "I was trying my best", Djokovic said.
"I'm just going to go along, and in the next three, four weeks maximum, I'll make my decisions around that, about the team", Djokovic said.
Thiem was attempting to become the first ATP Masters 1000, ATP Finals or Grand Slam champion born after 1988.
Given his past record in Rome - Nadal won seven titles from 2005 to 2013 - the 30-year-old Spaniard can look forward to a rousing reception from the notoriously noisy Rome crowd. The champions have claimed 60 of the past 65 Masters 1000 crowns, dating back to 2010 Monte-Carlo.
We saw a poor performance from Djokovic, and Nadal who is looking absolutely magnificent on clay this season, used this situation and immediately imposed his style of play.
Real Madrid great Raul and all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo were among those watching in the stands in the Caja Majica on a scorching day in the Spanish capital in as Madrid fan Nadal continued his rampant start to the year. "I hope to do the same in Rome (in this week's Italian Open)".
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