Nadal beats Thiem in Madrid, wins 3rd straight title

Nadal receives 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and is expected to climb to No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, surpassing Federer. "It shows you you're working in the right way", said Nadal, who has thrived after struggling with his game for two years. I think he made an error, so I managed to break again.

Nadal won Madrid Open for the 5th time in his career.

Dominic Thiem set up a Madrid Open final showdown with Rafael Nadal as the Austrian ended the charge of Pablo Cuevas.

The first set saw Thiem try and adopt an attacking attitude against Nadal, who had only recently defeated him in Barcelona.

“These last few weeks have been very special. Things are going very well and I'm very happy, "Nadal was quoted as saying by the tournament's website".

"I knew I'd have to play very well and I thought I did very well in the first set". He even had a set point of his own with Nadal serving at 6-7, but the Spaniard eventually rose above his foe and converted his fifth set point to take the opener.

The 30-year-old Nadal rode momentum to break in the first game of the second set, and Thiem fought to the end. "What's important to me is to make it to another final".

"Well, Rafa was obviously a better player today. After that I went for it".

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia looks down as he reacts to playing a bad shot and losing a point against Rafael Nadal of Spain during their mens semifinal tennis match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Sat.

"I am convinced that Thiem will be a candidate to win big tournaments in the following years". The clear favorite for Roland Garros and having accomplished all of his immediate goals, the question now becomes if Nadal, at nearly 31, even plays Rome or elects to rest.

Nadal has now equalled Novak Djokovic's record of most Masters 1000 titles won, having picked up his 30th crown at that level on Sunday.

Djokovic hasn't made the semi-final of any of the top-tier tournaments this season either, after winning Qatar Open before the Australian Open.

However, a year on from a triumph that suggested he had finally mastered the toughest surface of them all, the 29-year-old is back to square one after a humiliating exit at the hands of unseeded 20-year-old Croat Borna Coric at the Madrid Masters last week.

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.

A fifth win in Madrid-not to mention his third in the last five years-puts Nadal in great stead for the upcoming French Open, where he also happens to hold the record number of titles with nine wins since 2005.

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