Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Rafael Nadal slips after record set right

Rafael Nadal vs Diego Schwartzman LIVE stream GETTYRafael Nadal vs Diego Schwartzman LIVE stream
Sergio Cook | 13 May, 2018, 01:09

However, in their ninth career clash, Thiem put Nadal under pressure nearly from the start on Friday and broke for a 4-3 lead in the first set. Not only did he suffer his first clay-court defeat in nearly a year, but the loss also meant Roger Federer will reclaim the world No. 1 ranking tomorrow.

Rafael Nadal suffered his first defeat on clay in 357 days, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Dominic Thiem, the world No 7 from Austria, in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open.

Nadal said: "I am playing against one of the best players in the world and..."

Then, Nadal fired long off his backhand side to once more go a break behind and there was no chance given by Thiem as a cross-court forehand wrapped up the contest.

"I think that today I wasn't reading the ball well enough to be able to handle the situation, to put him in places where he didn't feel comfortable to play", explained a disappointed Nadal after the match.

Nadal paid tribute to Thiem for the way he played on Friday.

Thiem - who is chasing his first Masters title - lost in straight sets to Spaniard Nadal in the final 12 months ago.

Nadal went into the contest having won 50 successive sets on the red dirt since his loss to Thiem at the Internazionali d'Italia last May. Others are Novak Djokovic, who has beaten Nadal seven times on clay and Gaston Gaudio, who managed it on three occasions. "This is incredible. So I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did", said Thiem. The final score was 7-5, 6-3.

"I had to really increase my level compared to Monte Carlo to beat Rafa here", Thiem said. Previous year I made it to the finals in every single tournament.

Thiem rarely looked troubled against Anderson despite his 0-6 record going into the encounter.

"If you want to beat him, especially on clay, you have to do something special".

Canada's Denis Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the Madrid semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 win over Britain's Kyle Edmund.

Sharapova also lost in three sets to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands while Halep, the champion in 2016 and 2017, was blown away by Karolina Pliskova.

In the semifinals, the Austrian will play against South African Kevin Andersson.

Later Saturday, Zverev will be playing in his third straight Masters semi-final.

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