Rafael Nadal wins 30th Masters title in Madrid

Ross Houston
May 25, 2017

Rafael Nadal will be looking to win his third title this year in as many clay court tournaments when he goes up against first-time Masters 1000 finalist Dominic Thiem in the finals of the Madrid Open 2017.

Nadal withstood a tough challenge from the ninth-ranked Thiem, converting on his fourth match point to earn his 15th straight victory on clay and tie Novak Djokovic's record of 30 career titles in Masters 1,000 events.

Nadal was brutal coming in to the second set, breaking straight away, and denying Thiem a chance to try and break back immediately, from that point on no quarter was given until Nadal pushed and pressed fir a break to finish with Thiem saving two match points in the process.

The victory leaves Nadal in ideal shape for the Roland Garros where the French Open is set to kick off in a week's time. "Returning the ball is hard, especially when he hits it so high", said Nadal after the win.

After beating Djokovic in the semi-finals, Nadal could have been forgiven for expecting a somewhat easier contest against Thiem, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 final.

Spains Rafael Nadal bites the trophy as poses for photographers after winning the final of the Madrid Open tennis tournament in two sets, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4, against Austrias Dominic Thiem in Madrid, Spain, Sunday. I think I played a good first set.

Thiem was attempting to become the first ATP Masters 1000, ATP Finals or Grand Slam champion born after 1988. But considering we haven't seen Federer play on clay this year, and the fact that historically he gets destroyed by Nadal on clay, it seems more than likely that Nadal will sweep the clay court season this year. These tournaments are so strong, so it's unbelievable for me to go that far. Basically I couldn't do the rebreak until the end of the match. Neither player could break again and while the home favourite took the lead in the tie-break, his Austrian opponent briefly staged a comeback before Nadal clinched the set. But in December or January, I was not expecting to play badly, because I knew I was doing a very good off-season. I just try to focus.

"I felt comfortable hitting the ball the last few days, physically ready, mentally sharp as well". Nadal's streak is still the longest active streak. It's logical that after a hard week, I've been playing a lot of matches, a lot of hours out there on the court, I feel like it's (knee) sore, a little bit exhausted.

He added: "Right now the results are there, and that gives me more capacity to keep on doing things".

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