Thiem books final place in Madrid

ATP Madrid Zverev powers past Isner. Shapovalov edges Edmund in a thriller

ATP Madrid Zverev powers past Isner. Shapovalov edges Edmund in a thriller

None of the their previous meetings had been on Thiem's favoured clay and the surface proved decisive as he managed to dictate against Anderson who was appearing in his first semi-final of a Masters 1000 event.

A year ago was similar for Nadal: he won four clay tournaments but lost in the quarterfinals at the Italian Open, in straight sets to Dominic Thiem.

From there, he held on to close out the match easily and set up a final with second seed Alexander Zverev, who needed just 58 minutes to overcome unseeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 in the second semi-final of the day.

Thiem's confidence was on display in the semi-final Saturday as he dispatched off Kevin Anderson in straight sets - his first win over the American star - in the semi-final.

Nadal held serve and then saved three set points against him to tie up the set at 5-5.

Thiem said: "It was a completely different matchup today".

His long absence has taken him out of the seedings, ranked 25, and raises questions about his match-fitness. And he returned very well.' Bresnik also recalled the past weeks when Thiem lost to Nadal by 6-0 6-2 in Monte Carlo: 'He was without any hope there. I'm not going to keep the No. 1 today. The way I started was also well. "Whenever he plays really well, it is hard to stop him". Nearly everything worked out.

He will play either Alexander Zverev or Canadian Denis Shapovalov in Sunday's final.

"We both should be very proud of this attractive final we played". However, Zverev is playing some of the best tennis we've seen from him and isn't even giving his opponents a look at a break point.

Not surprisingly with their first three encounters on the clay, Thiem won all three, but they were by no means pushovers. But it's been two years since they last played on red dirt, 2016 Roland Garros, when Thiem won in four sets.

Nadal's most recent title in Rome came in 2013.

Zverev does have two Masters titles to his name, and he beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to get them, but in fairness, both were struggling a little too at the time, and this time (as in Miami against John Isner) he will be facing someone in full fitness.

Before this week, he had never won a main tour clay-court match. Thiem is a confident player right now and has a shot at the biggest title of his career at 24 years old. Sugita's clay data is very bad too, and his random run in Barcelona past year is looking more and more like a flash in the pan, having lost all six matches on the surface after that display. In this year, he increased his level dramatically. Obviously he's leading the head-to-head.

But Nadal could not maintain his form and was comfortably beaten by the world No.7, who broke his opponent's serve five times in the two-hour match.

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