Rafael Nadal eager to play down Dominic Thiem hiccup


"I think I placed myself in a good position, more or less". But that's part of this sport. Thiem has lost six straight matches against Anderson, but the two have never met on clay.

Austria's Dominic Thiem (R) is congratulated by Rafael Nadal (L) of Spain after winning their quarter final match of the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain, 11 May 2018.

Showcasing arguably his best tennis of the season thus far, the 24-year-old was dictating play from the start, and wrapped up the win in just under two hours to set up a semi-final against Kevin Anderson.

Nadal brushed aside Thiem 6-0, 6-2 just three weeks ago at Monte Carlo, where the Austrian was returning after being sidelined for a month due to a broken foot. "So I can't go back to the hotel and think that I have to do a lot of things different to prepare the next events because will not be something that will be very smart for my part".

Nadal had made a record of winning 50 consecutive sets on a single surface by defeating Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Thursday.

He was right to be anxious.

Thiem then struck an ace to complete the set.

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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. "It's hard to be able to win 50 sets in a row", Nadal said.

His shirt drenched in sweat, Nadal looked stunned in the second set when he sent four serves in a row into the net for back-to-back double faults before he ceded another break to go down 2-1. "Small things happen that normally when you're in a good momentum, those things don't happen".

Kyle Edmund's run at the Madrid Open also came to an end at the quarter-final stage after he was beaten by Canada's Denis Shapovalov.

"Thinking too much about previous results is not going to do me too much good, outside of the fact that, sure, there was motivation to get through".

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.

"I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did", Thiem assessed.

Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens continued her remarkable run at the Madrid Open by thrashing French seventh seed Caroline Garcia to reach the womens' final.