Nadal beats Thiem in Madrid, wins 3rd straight title

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Rafael Nadal wins his fifth Madrid Open title with a straight-sets but hard-fought victory over Dominic Thiem.

Rafael Nadal recorded a first win over Novak Djokovic in nearly three years to seal a place in the Madrid Open final.

After an imbalanced schedule gave Thiem a late night finish on Saturday, the young Austrian came out firing in his first Masters final and broke Nadal for a 3-1 lead, but lost it due to a combination of bad volleys at net and the Spaniard's all-world defense.

Thiem saved two championship points to hold for 4-5 and then earned four break points against Nadal's serve in the next game. "Hopefully I can do that with my team and play better in Rome and Roland Garros". “It means a lot to me to win at home, its always a special place for me.”.

Four-time champion Nadal rediscovered his ruthless streak and ended a three-year, seven-match losing streak against Djokovic to progress to the final two. "I'm on the right track", added Nadal. I did well in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and also here. 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.

The Spaniard, 30, won 6-2 6-4 to claim his first victory over the Serb since the 2014 French Open final. I really enjoy these tournaments.

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This win is the first one after 7 consecutive defeats against Djokovic, and Rafa needed this to happen in order to gain more confidence before the start of the French Open, where he is going to chase the 10th title in his career, and became the first player who has 10 Grand Slam titles at one major. I just try to go for all of them. "Let's respect his level right now because it's true that perhaps it's not as high as it used to be, but I'm telling you, it's been a lot of years, and I know because I've been in his skin, being up there every single week, being No. 1 every single week, it's nearly impossible". They are very important tournaments for me.

It was the first title of the season for the eighth-ranked Halep, who was the first player to make it to three Madrid finals. "It shows you you're working in the right way", said Nadal, who has thrived after struggling with his game for two years.

Another week on the claycourt circuit, another title for Rafael Nadal.

Just like Nadal, Thiem also has dropped just one set so far in the Madrid Open but the eight seed faces a completely different test against Nadal in the finals.

Victory over Dominic Thiem on Sunday saw him complete the single-season treble of Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid for the first time in his career. "I hope to do the same in Rome". "I was trying my best", Djokovic said.

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