Rafael Nadal will look to make it 14 wins and three titles in a row on Sunday when he takes on Dominic Thiem in the final of the Madrid Open. The Spaniard has been in glorious form recently and will be expected to pick up his fifth Madrid title to carry on this streak.
Nadal blitzed Novak Djokovic early in their semi final meeting, opening with a break to love on the way to a 4-0 lead with it looking like the Serbian had no answer at all to the play of his biggest rival. Falling down 0-2 in the second set, Djokovic did show a bit of fight to tie it back up only to hand the break of serve back again. Those would be the only break points that Nadal would face until he served for the match, fighting them off to end his 7 match losing streak against Djokovic in fine fashion. “As you get older a certain type of victory can be a little more satisfactory, but as time passes what’s left is titles, and not who you beat. I’m trying to do the best possible. To beat an opponent like Novak is extra satisfaction momentarily but nothing more, it is a victory that gives me the chance to fight for an important title” said Nadal afterwards.
Meanwhile, it was a professional performance from Dominic Thiem in his semi final, avoiding a slip up against Pablo Cuevas. He was dominant on serve, winning 84% of points on his first and facing no break points in the 6-4 6-4 win. It hasn’t been the most testing of routes to the final for the Austrian but he has remained consistent throughout and not bowed to the pressure of favouritism against lesser players.
“I played him four times on clay and there is not really anything you can do against him, you can just hope that he has a very bad day tomorrow and that I have a very good day” Thiem says on the matchup with Nadal. It was a very good day for Nadal last time they met in a Monte Carlo with the Spaniard winning fairly comfortably, the 6-4 6-1 win extending the head to head record to 3-1 against Thiem. Nadal is still in blistering form and it’s hard to see who can beat him now and there’s no doubt that currently he goes into the French Open as the favourite for the title. Another win here will just bolster his case even further.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in straight sets