Victory also ensured Nadal closes the gap on Djokovic’s lead in their head-to-head record to 26-24.
The win is not only Nadal’s third title of 2017 but also his 30th Masters 1000 title, the joint-most along with Novak Djokovic, and extends his clay-court season record to 15-0.
But that was to misrepresent where these two stood in their more recent history. He erased three match points before Nadal sliced a backhand volley for the title.
Defending champion Murray will meet Fabio Fognini after the Italian breezed past countryman Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-3 yesterday in the first round. It would be interesting to see what they have in store for us in the 30s, with hopefully many years to come from all of them. Former champs in the field are Murray (2016), Djokovic (2015-14, ’11, ’08), and the seven-time champion Nadal (2013-12, ’10-09, ’07-05).
Nadal says he is fit at the moment and still plans on playing Rome, which has already started with the early rounds on Sunday.
No surprise, then, that during Madrid this year, Nadal had his old strut back.
The question is more who will be able to stop him rather than will he sweep the clay court season. Given the form of the Spaniard, and in the upcoming match he is a favorite. “To break that means there are always nerves”, added Nadal.
Nadal claimed the first set against Thiem after a lengthy tiebreak which finished 10-8.
Neither player broke again in the first set, which duly went to a tie-break, in which Nadal claimed victory when Thiem sent a forehand long. Indeed he looked a little flat, but he did hold. The Czech needed only one hour and 16 minutes to run out a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 victor and bridge a gap of five places in the world rankings.
Was Djokovic, though, starting to find his rhythm and focus? However, what Djokovic does indeed have going on for him is the mental edge that he would have over Nadal. “That’s the thing in tennis: there’s only one victor”.
Rafael Nadal snapped a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic in commanding fashion as he romped into the final of the Madrid Masters 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday.
“I just play every single tournament without thinking a lot of things”. Nadal last beat the world number two in the 2014 French Open final.
In truth, this was far from Djokovic’s best. Sometimes against the best players in the world, you even lose when you play well. He deserved to win.
“I could have played better”, Djokovic said.
“His quality was very high”. Today was warmer than last three, four days, so conditions were quite different.
It is hard to disagree-and it would his 10th there too.
Halep thanked much-criticized Fed Cup coach Ilie Nastase after the match, but the 70-year-old’s role in the trophy presentation was labelled “irresponsible and unacceptable” by the WTA.
Thiem didn’t finish his semifinal against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas until after midnight Sunday morning.