Thiem ends Nadal clay-court streak

12 May, 2018, 11:02 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal won his 50th consecutive set on clay on Thursday to break John McEnroe's 34-year record and beat Diego Schwartzman at the Madrid Open. Nadal hadn't lost a single set on clay since falling to Thiem at the Rome Open quarterfinals one year ago.

Spain's Rafael Nadal congratulates Austria's Dominic Thiem after their ATP Madrid Open quarter-final tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 11, 2018.

Nadal's exit means Roger Federer will reclaim the number one spot when the revised ATP rankings are released on Monday.

"I haven't been good enough today", Nadal told reporters. "I'm just feeling week very good on the court, and everything is working so far".

Nadal went into the contest having won 50 successive sets on the red dirt since his loss to Thiem at the Internazionali d'Italia last May.

"Obviously, two weeks ago in Monte-Carlo, he killed me love and two".

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Thiem was also last player to take a set off Nadal on the surface when he beat the 31-year-old, a 10-time French Open victor, at the Italian Open in May 2017.

However, in their ninth career clash, Thiem put Nadal under pressure nearly from the start on Friday and broke for a 4-3 lead in the first set.

A couple of mistimed forehands from Nadal handed Thiem an early 3-1 advantage in the second set but the defending champion fought back to draw level after six games.

The Austrian, seeded fifth for the Madrid Open and considered one of the best clay-court players on the tour, will face sixth seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the last four.

"If you want to beat him, especially on clay, you have to do something special. To beat Rafa on clay you have to have a special day". But I think a very important thing also was today that I went in with the attitude that I can beat him. Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens continued her remarkable run at the Madrid Open by thrashing French seventh seed Caroline Garcia on Friday to reach the final.

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