Thiem shocks Nadal in Madrid to qualify for semifinals

Thiem shocks Nadal in Madrid to qualify for semifinals

Del Potro, however, will not join him in the last eight.

He returned to Tour action only in April, winning the Monte Carlo title for an 11th time before rolling through the draw in Barcelona for his 11th triumph there.

There he weathered an epic three-setter against Novak Djokovic before bowing out in a tame fashion to eventual champion Rafael Nadal and backed hat up with another quarter-final run in Barcelona, before coming to Madrid, where he lost to Nadal in the final previous year. On Friday, though, it was a different story.

Nadal saved two break points to start the match as he immediately felt the pressure of the Austrian.

Nadal had to save two break points in the first set, but Thiem was quick to latch on the vulnerability that emerged in the seventh game.

Nadal's comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory moves him into the quarter-finals in the Spanish capital and means he sets a new Open era best for the longest streak of victorious sets on a single surface. "If I had played normal I would have no chance", Thiem said.

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He added: "I think I placed myself in a good position, more or less". I tried to do it.

"I still am not believing it 100 per cent, but I know that I deserved to win today", Lajovic said. "He played well and I didn't play well". I'm not even thinking about that. "I'm just feeling week very good on the court, and everything is working so far".

Thiem, meanwhile, was aware of how significant the win was, especially considering his recent 6-0, 6-2 loss to Nadal at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters. I love to play here. "I can level up my game". Nadal won the first in 2014 at Roland Garros at a time when Thiem was a highly-rated but unproven young gun and proved no match for the great Spaniard, losing in straight sets 2-6 2-6 3-6.

'I think a very important thing also was today that I went in with the attitude that I can beat him. "I won a hard match against a very hard player that played well". Also in maybe the next upcoming tournaments'.

On related note In the Madrid semi-finals on Saturday, Thiem will face big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, who has defeated the Austrian in their last six encounters. "Of course, he's still playing incredible also in these tournaments but for the other players, it's getting a little bit easier because it's faster and there's a higher bounce". Obviously, the movement's a little bit tougher. "It takes you time to adapt to how the ball bounces and flies". In the second set, he could never get going.

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