Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal lifts title to match Novak Djokovic's record

Murray barely sees Lendl but says that teleconferences on Monday have become routine

Rafael Nadal's French Open credentials were boosted further when he claimed a record-equalling 30th ATP 1000 title at the Madrid Open on Sunday.

Nadal had easily defeated Thiem in Barcelona, losing only five games in a two-set victory, but was forced to work a lot harder yesterday. If Nadal were to prevail at Roland Garros, he will become the first player in history to win a Grand Slam tournament on ten occasions.

"It's true that some matches are more important than others".

Nadal was under the spotlight in the semifinal against Djokovic, who he had lost to three consecutive times on clay, but he mowed past his former No. 1 and rival in straight sets.

Nadal held his serve to love in the ensuing game to move ahead at 6-5, and Thiem drove on to the tiebreak despite his opponent's best efforts to avoid any need with a last-ditch break attempt.

"The circumstances nowadays are completely different compared to those seven matches that occurred before".

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It was a valiant — if not foolish — decision, as McLeod received an penalty for instigating and was kicked out of the game. Five of their six defensemen made their way onto the scoresheet, combining for six total points (one goal, five assists).

"I think that the last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years". The only player who could maybe put up a good fight right now is Roger Federer since he's played so well this year.

I suggested in my opening Masters 1000 preview of the season - Indian Wells - that a power shift was looking possible in tennis in 2017. The 14-time Grand Slam victor should be heading into the match high on confidence as he had beaten Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in the final of Barcelona only last month, which was also his third win over the world number nine in four meetings on clay. "I will give everything tomorrow and hope I can play a good final". "I was trying my best", Djokovic said.

Madrid's home bird opened a 4-2 cushion early in the tiebreak before a three-point spree from Thiem drew him into a slim 6-5 lead. Rafa reminded us how he used to play 10 years ago when he set many records on this turf and was practically untouchable. The 2017 Monte Carlo Masters was his first title victory since April 2016 when he beat Kei Nishikori in the finals at Barcelona.

Nadal was brutal coming in to the second set, breaking straight away, and denying Thiem a chance to try and break back immediately, from that point on no quarter was given until Nadal pushed and pressed fir a break to finish with Thiem saving two match points in the process. "And winning here, with the public on my side, has been very special", he added.

Rafael Nadal has won his fifth Madrid Open title courtesy of a straight-sets victory over Dominic Thiem this evening. He managed to do whatever he wanted, especially in the first set. "I think I already had worse weeks in my life than this one". "It means the world to me to make it to another final here in Madrid".

Nadal then broke immediately at the start of the second set and the games went with serve until the ninth game when Nadal had two Championship points on Thiem's serve.

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