Monday, 15 May 2017

Nadal lifts fifth Madrid crown

Rafa Nadal extended his 2017 clay court run to 15 wins including 3 titles, the latest his Madrid Open win over Dominic Thiem.
This victory was hard fought, much different to the Barcelona final where Thiem had no answer to the Clay Court King.
The Austrian was faster out of the blocks in the Spanishl capital, earning the first break and worrying Nadal with precision off both flanks, especially the forehand.

Of course Nadal found his way into the match and broke back, eventually levelling at 3-3.  Neither player would relent on serve for the remainder of the set, although Thiem showed strength at 4-5 and 0-40 with excellent serving to save all set points and progress to a tie break.

The tie break was one of the best in recent times with spectacular rallies ended with brilliant winners for much of the time.
Set points were saved defiantly by both players until on the eighteenth point Thiem sent a shot long to surrender the opening chapter of this battle to Nadal.

Almost eighty minutes of enthralling tennis had transpired to give Nadal the edge, and he extended the advantage with a break of serve in the first game of set two.
Thiem had five chances to break back, but Nadal would have none of it and held serve for the rest of the match, taking the title for the fifth time 7-6 (8) 6-4.

Jumping ahead of Federer to 4 in the world, Nadal is set for a key seeding at Roland Garros, avoiding the prospect of meeting either Djokovic or Murray (last year's finalists) before the semi finals.

Nadal now has 51 clay court titles and more significantly 30 Masters 1000 crowns, equalling Novak Djokovic with the most ever.

Rome is next on the tour, and once again Nadal is drawn to meet Djokovic in the semi finals.  Can the Serb lift himself to break the Spaniard's rich run of form ?   

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