Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win Madrid Open

It was Nadal's second straight win against the 23-year-old Austrian, coming two weeks after the Barcelona Open final, when the fifth-ranked Spaniard cruised to victory in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal in action against Dominic Thiem in the final of the Madrid Masters.

After Thiem rifled a few winners to save 0-40 at 4-5 (the same game in which his chances spiraled two weeks back in their Barcelona final), a brilliant tiebreaker saw both players saving set points, with Nadal's consistency eventually winning out when Thiem misfired twice to lose a 10-8 thriller.

Playing his first-ever Masters 1000 final, the Austrian never looked fazed by the occasion and despite being broken in the first game of the second set, continued to fight till the end. Thiem again responded with a fierce battle with Nadal serving for the match but Nadal finally put him away with a forehead victor to end the 2-hour, 18-minute match.

"I can not promise to play or pull out right now", he said.

"To try to win Roland Garros, you don't need to be No. 4 or No. 1 or No. 5, what you need is to play tennis very well", Nadal said.

Nadal did not face the toughest competition in Monte-Carlo but has since answered any questions with two victories over Thiem, a second win over a more-rested David Goffin, and his first time beating Djokovic in three years. In what was billed as a must-see semi-final against Djokovic, Nadal turned the tables on the Serbian, hitting him off the court to end a seven-match losing streak against the World No. 2. I'm expecting the best Djokovic tomorrow. The semifinal in question is scheduled for Saturday and would've been played out by the time you read this. "I wasn't building any points really".

Given his form, I think he can go close and will back him each way to small stakes.

And the 14-time Grand Slam champion is now strong favorite to add a 10th French Open crown next month as he romped to victory on home soil for the loss of just one set all week.

Thiem, in his first Masters final, took the initiative first, making the most of what seemed like a tardy start from Nadal, breaking and consolidating for a 3-1 lead.

Rafael Nadal is near his best again, and he showed it with an emphatic win over a rival he hadn't beaten in three years.

Rafael Nadal's French Open credentials were boosted further when he claimed a record-equalling 30th ATP 1000 title at the Madrid Open on Sunday. He also beat Thiem in the Barcelona title match. "I'm not thinking about the race or anything like that", said Nadal.

"Things are working out, and I'm very happy for that", he said after his two-hour and 17-minute tussle with a powerful and energetic Thiem. I think what is logical is to go to Rome, try to give 100 per cent.

Djokovic, playing his first tournament since splitting with his long-time coaching team, won just four points in the opening four games as he fell 4-0 down to a rejuvenated Nadal.

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