Sports

Thiem shocks Nadal in Madrid to qualify for semifinals

Thiem shocks Nadal in Madrid to qualify for semifinals

In 2018, returning from injury, he lifted his eleventh title in Monte Carlo and then in Barcelona.

Nadal had not lost a set or match on the red dirt since falling to Thiem at last year's Italian Open, but the Austrian proved to be his downfall once more with a 7-5 6-3 victory.

His progress this week has been sketchy too - twice coming from a set down to prevail.

The loss also will knock Nadal out of the top spot in the world rankings, although perhaps not for long.

But that remarkable streak was brought to a close as Nadal surrendered the opener, and Thiem refused to let the momentum slip as he delivered a stirring second-set showing to win 7-5 6-3. "That's what I'm working on", Nadal said, as quoted by ATP's official website. I tried to do it a couple of times. "I should go into every match like this against him".

The 21-year-old third seed was clinical as he trounced erratic Canadian Shapovalov, two years his junior, 6-4 6-1 in less than an hour on centre court. I just want to congratulate him, that's all. Anderson served at only 56% and that wasn't enough to keep him safe in his games, getting broken three times from eight break chances and losing the edge in the longer points to end his run in the semi-final. World No-1 is now focused on his next match against Domonic Thiem, a rematch of last year's final. I love to play here. It doesn't mean that I'm done. He's playing great, unbelievable tennis. He's in a really great form.

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Kvitova previously won on the Madrid clay in 2011 and 2015. I was not under control of the point [for most of] the match. I think the chances are the highest, out of all the clay-court tournaments, I think here and in Rome, it's the most hard for him. It was very important I went in with a positive attitude, with an attitude to win. "Also in maybe the next upcoming tournaments".

Pliskova's 6-4, 6-3 win sets up a semi-final showdown with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who saw off Russia's Daria Kasatkina. He's still undoubtedly expected to advance with the near flawless way he's playing at the moment, but this is nevertheless a finals-quality matchup in the quarterfinals. This is the reality of this year. Obviously, the movement's a little bit tougher.

I give the Thiem the edge, but likely in three sets. The ball flies more here...

"Of course, I'm frustrated". I thought the first step was putting myself in that position. I was able to do that. "My concentration just didn't feel like it was there today".

Early in the second set, Nadal was in trouble again. I'm breaking on an advantage.


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