Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win Madrid Open

Thiem resisted three championship points but Nadal seized the fourth with a drop shot to the back of the court to clinch his third consecutive clay-court crown, after winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April, and the 72nd tournament win of his career.

The 14-time major victor has been in a league of his own on clay this year and will match Djokovic's record of 30 ATP Masters 1000 titles if he beats Dominic Thiem or Pablo Cuevas in his homeland on Sunday.

Thiem handed the break back by netting a simple volley for 3-3, but showed admirable resistence to battle back from 0-40 when serving to stay in the set a 4-5 to force a tie-break.

"Since the beginning, I was playing with a lot of pressure". It was an achievement that even Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal couldn't accomplish. Fortunately I managed to come back and break... He's now on a 14-game winning streak courtesy 28 out of 30 sets, including back-to-back titles at Monte-Carlo and Barcelona.

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The 14-times grand-slam victor broke in the opening game of the second set and saved a break point in the next, maintaining a two-game advantage until a thrilling 10th game. "To break that means there are always nerves", added Nadal.

"I am going to every tournament trying to give my best, being aware that if things are done right, as I have done this year, I will have confidence and confidence in myself".

Nadal knows there are reasons to be cautios, but he appears unwilling to give up his chance to pick up more momentum at Rome next week.

London:Rafael Nadal set up an intriguing Madrid Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic by overcoming Belgian David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-2 in a high-quality last-eight match. These tournaments are so strong, so it's wonderful for me to go that far. The 23-year-old Austrian had gone 0-4 in his previous Masters 1000 quarter-finals prior to this week, but broke the streak on Friday against lucky loser and #NextGenATP Croatian Borna Coric.

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"As years go by, depending on the type of victories, (they) can fulfil you a little bit more or less".

Nadal had easily defeated Thiem in Barcelona, losing only five games in a two-set victory, but was forced to work a lot harder yesterday. If I'm at my best and he's at his best on clay, he's probably the better player.

Nadal says he is fit at the moment and still plans on playing Rome, which has already started with the early rounds on Sunday. 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. If I'm at my best and he's at his best on clay, he's probably the better player. "I'll try to be 100 per cent and ready for tomorrow's match".

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