Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Thiem defeats Nadal in Madrid

Thiem defeats Nadal in Madrid

Thiem is rightly considered, on his day, one of the finest clay court players now operating beneath Nadal who remains king of the surface.

Five-time Madrid victor Nadal, who will be bidding for an 11th French Open title in Paris later this month, had won his previous 21 matches on clay.

Rafael Nadal suffered his first clay-court defeat in nearly a year when the world No 1 was shocked 7-5, 6-3 by Austria's Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals on Friday.

Thiem, the runner-up to the Spaniard in the 2017 Madrid final, had been the last player to defeat Nadal on clay at the Italian Open in Rome nearly 12 months ago.

He also ended Nadal's 21-match, 50-set, winning streak on clay.

Since last year's loss to Thiem, Nadal had been impeccable on his preferred surface.

Although the 24-year-old Austrian failed to convert a set point in the ninth game, he pounced at the second time of asking to seal the first set with an ace.

Nadal appeared to have salvaged the opening set when he broke Thiem back for 5-5, but the Austrian took the advantage right back after Nadal sent a forehand into the net.

But Thiem was not to be denied and won 10 of the next 11 points to snuff out any chance of a Nadal comeback, sealing victory with a powerful cross-court victor in under two hours.

'I haven't read the ball good enough to be able to handle the situation, to put him in places where he didn't feel comfortable to play.

"Thinking too much about previous results is not going to do me too much good, outside of the fact that, sure, there was motivation to get through". "That's the end of the story". Also, when that happens, it's because your opponent is doing really well. "I still have two good weeks on clay then I'll keep moving forward". Thiem has won seven of his last nine matches on clay court. "So I can't go back to the hotel and think that I have to do a lot of things different to prepare the next events because [that] will not be something that will be very smart".

Thiem, who is scheduled to lock horns with South Africa's Kevin Anderson, was "super happy" after his surprise win.

Zverev will face Denis Shapovalov after he outlasted Kyle Edmund 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4.

Nadal staved off four break points in the third game, but surviving a fifth proved beyond him, an off-balance forehand leaving him trailing once more.

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