Federer to usurp Nadal as world number one

Rafael Nadal Madrid Open Diego Schwartzman

A double fault gave Thiem the decisive break to open the second set and he broke again for a 4-1 lead before securing victory with a service victor as he reached his 15th career final and fifth in a row on clay.

Rafael Nadal was Friday forced to his first clay-court defeat in nearly a year by Dominic Thiem in their Madrid Open quarter-final encounter. Nadal fired long off his backhand side to once more go a break behind and there would be no chance for another reprieve as Thiem held to love before a searing cross-court forehand wrapped up the contest, his excellent performance serving as a reminder that the King is indeed beatable on clay.

Lightning struck for a third time as Thiem scored a 7-5, 6-3 upset, becoming just the third player in history to defeat Nadal at least three times on clay. I still have two good weeks on clay, and then I'll keep on moving forward. "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".

Regardless of where you put him in the pantheon of all-time players, Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly the best tennis player that clay courts have ever seen and has 10 French Open titles to prove it. Others are Novak Djokovic, who has beaten Nadal seven times on clay and Gaston Gaudio, who managed it on three occasions.

'I mean, there is a reason why I did my first Masters finals here previous year.

'Like this I should go in every match against him. I think I really hurt him with them... "I don't have any doubt he's going to be back up at the highest level". It doesn't mean that I'm done. It's great to play here for me. It was a goal that I set myself. "Now I'm in the finals again, which is unbelievable for me".

"Yeah great tennis, obviously it's going to be a very tough match but I'm ready for it", Zverev said of the Canadian. But that is part of the sport. That's part of the sport in general. Thiem has lost six straight matches against Anderson, but the two have never met on clay.

World number 7 and defending Madrid finalist Dominic Thiem is through to his second Masters 1000 final after a commanding 6-4 6-2 win over the 6th seed Kevin Anderson in an hour and 25 minutes.

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