Rafael Nadal wins 30th Masters title in Madrid

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their mens semifinal tennis match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid Spain Saturday

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their mens semifinal tennis match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid Spain Saturday

Nadal will face Austrian Dominic Thiem, who beat Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-4, in Sunday's final.

Rafael Nadal will be looking to win his third title this year in as many clay court tournaments when he goes up against first-time Masters 1000 finalist Dominic Thiem in the finals of the Madrid Open 2017.

Second-ranked Djokovic has also struggled this season, but stayed alive in Madrid with the two-set victory over Lopez.

By contrast, Nadal cruised to a 14-0 win record on clay when he ousted long-time rival Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals yesterday.

“These last few weeks have been very special.

Nadal, who moved to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Race To London with a quarterfinal victory over David Goffin on Friday, fired 20 winners, including seven with his backhand.

However, the Spaniard was able to come through with the win after breaking Thiem early on in the second set.

He flirted with a break point to level at 5-5 while Nadal was serving for his fifth title in Madrid - a Demi-Decima, if you will. Thiem threw everything but the kitchen sink at Nadal, and he just kept coming, finally converting on his fourth championship point to lift a fifth Madrid title.

"It's going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in tennis history, " Nadal said.

"Especially to go from 40-15, to break point for him, that was a very hard moment for me".

Djokovic was playing his first tournament in Madrid since parting company with his long-term coach Marian Vajda.

It will be the Spaniard's eighth final at his home tournament, and the first since losing to Andy Murray in 2015.

“It was a good fight out there.

"All in all, I did try my best". The clear favorite for Roland Garros and having accomplished all of his immediate goals, the question now becomes if Nadal, at nearly 31, even plays Rome or elects to rest. But considering we haven't seen Federer play on clay this year, and the fact that historically he gets destroyed by Nadal on clay, it seems more than likely that Nadal will sweep the clay court season this year.

Djokovic won the last meeting between the pair in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters exactly a year ago, and Nadal had not beaten the 12-time grand slam victor since the 2014 French Open final. Djokovic led the head-to-head 26-23 and the Serb was on a seven-match winning streak, indeed an 11-12 run, against Nadal, and what's more, he had won their last three on clay.

The four-time champion made light work of defending champion Novak Djokovic (6-2, 6-4) in what was a highly-anticipated semi-final tie yesterday.

Nadal defeats Djokovic in the semifinals at Madrid.

But what was just the Scot's third title on the surface, following wins in Munich and Madrid, has never looked further away.

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