Thiem Ends Nadal Streak In Madrid, Zverev Advances To 3rd Straight Masters SF
by Staff | May 11th, 2018, 9:18 pm

The last man to beat Rafael Nadal did it again Friday in Madrid as Dominic Thiem stunned Rafa in front of his home fans in emphatic fashion 7-5, 6-3.

Nadal entered the affair having won 21 straight matches on clay with 50 sets in a row. But Thiem, who beat Nadal in Rome last year, was able to stick around in the first then capitalized on two Nadal doubles faults to take the set lead.

In the second, Thiem continued to hammer away at Rafa, but couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead. But at 3-all he got back into rhythm and got the job done.

“Of course, I’m upset,” said Nadal. “I tried to come back. I tried to do it a couple of times, but I wasn’t good enough today. He was better than me today, that’s the end of the story. Some days you don’t play as well as you’d like to play. Also, when that happens, it’s because your opponent is doing really well. I just want to congratulate him, that’s all.

“I think that today I didn’t read the ball well enough to be able to handle the situation, to put him into places where he didn’t feel comfortable. I was not good enough with my forehand or my backhand to open up to his forehand.”

For Thiem, it was his third career win over Nadal and puts him into his first Masters semi since Rome, and first European clay semi since the French.

“I had to play an extraordinary match, and that’s what I did,” said Thiem. “It takes a really good match to beat Rafa on clay, but I think a very important thing was that I went in with the attitude that I can beat him. Obviously, two weeks ago in Monte-Carlo, he killed me love and two. It was very important I went into the match with a positive attitude, with an attitude to win.

“I moved well [and] I was physically tough. But always against him, there are long rallies. You get out of breath. My groundstrokes were the best, they were very aggressive. I think I really hurt him with them… I didn’t make too many stupid errors. That was important.”

Thiem will take on South African big man Kevin Anderson who finally broke his duck and made his first Masters semifinal. Anderson came into his match against qualifier Dusan Lajovic having lost 10 straight Masters quarterfinal matches, but came up with the goods in a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 victory.

“I must be honest, I think I did a good job then because I didn’t really think of it too much [of my 0-10 record in Masters 1000 quarter-finals],” said Anderson. “I had lots of reason to think about it. Indian Wells and Miami, not that long ago. Two 7-6s in the third [set], to fall a bit short, [including] match points against [Pablo] Carreno Busta in Miami.

“Of course, I knew the opportunity existed today. I thought first step was putting myself in that position. I was able to do that. Going out there today, I just really focused on what I needed to do. 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. I really wanted to break through and be in the semi-finals. It was a goal that I set myself. It doesn’t mean that I’m done. It definitely feels good. It was a mini goal accomplished for me today.”

Anderson also is up on Thiem 6-0 but this is their first meeting on clay.

Alexander Zverev upped his win streak to seven after gaining revenge on John Isner 6-4, 7-5. Isner had beaten the German in the Miami final last month.

“Yeah I returned much better to start with, which is very important against John,” Zverev said. “I found I was very happy with how I played from the baseline, returning serving, so all in all it was a good performance.”

Zverev will take on a fellow young star in Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian got the better of Kyle Edmund in a tough Denis Shapovalov, who advanced to his second Masters 1000 semi-final by beating British No. 1 Kyle Edmund 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-4 victory.

“We have a really, really similar gamestyle. We both go big on the serves. We both love to dictate with the forehands. It’s tricky to play Kyle. When he’s on, I’m not seeing the ball at all,” Shapovalov said. “I feel like every time we play, we have a thriller match. It’s fun to be on the court with him.”

Zverev beat Shapovalov in the Canadian semifinals last summer.

“Yeah great tennis, obviously it’s going to be a very tough match but I’m ready for it,” Zverev said of the Canadian. “I feel pretty good and hopefully it’ll be another entertaining match like it was in Montreal.”

None of the four semifinalist have won Madrid before. Thiem made the finals last year.

Manolo Santana Starts At 1:30 Pm / WTA – Doubles Final
F 1 Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina VS 3 Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic
Not Before 4:00 Pm
SF 5 Dominic Thiem VS 6 Kevin Anderson
Not Before 6:30 Pm / WTA – Singles Final
F 10 Petra Kvitova VS Kiki Bertens
Not Before 9:00 Pm
SF Denis Shapovalov VS 2 Alexander Zverev

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60 Comments for Thiem Ends Nadal Streak In Madrid, Zverev Advances To 3rd Straight Masters SF

skeezer Says:

No congrats from Rafa to Fed for getting back #1?

rognadfan Says:

could watch just the highlights but it seemd like Thiem played hell of a game, esp on the BH when needed.
Well, it’s probably some fatigue factor kicking inside nadal but, congrats to thiem.

skeezer Says:

No fatigue, just a whooping’. Thiem wanted some mano o mono but Rafa came up with a no mas.

skeezer Says:

Thiems RPM’s on his topspin groundies was higher than Rafa’s, which is unheard of on Clay. Rafa was having trouble with that, I mean who does that to Rafa? It’s usually the other way around.

chofer Says:

This is out of the blue. I saw the first two matches of Thiem and he was playing like crap, really.

There must be some confidence factor in playing Nadal on clay. I hope he delivers at the French, though. Tennis needs a thriller there. Something the audiences hasn’t been given since the times both Rafa and Nole were playing good.

skeezer Says:

Rafans better hope Bull wins Rome, or else Fed retains #1, even if Rafa wins FO.

AndyMira Says:

Awwww Skeeze!….We Rafans, like Rafa don’t care much bout No1 okay?Fed can keep the No1 as long as he wants….Really!For us,being healthy is much more important than the No1 ranking….I swear!

Okiegal Says:

Totally agree with you Mira @11:03……

Humble Rafa Says:

If you sit out all season, does your rear end start hurting at some point.


Amit Says:

Rafa shall rout Thiem, come Roland Garros!

Amit Says:

Rafa lost due to exhaustion! Lucky Thiem!! And whoever says Madrid is farthest from FO, is correct! The surfaces couldnt have been more different!

Amit Says:

Fed and Nole are lucky too to avoid this rampaging Rafa on clay.

skeezer Says:

“Rafa lost due to exhaustion! Lucky Thiem!!”
Aww the typical two word excuse when Rafa loses. Lol
“We Rafans, like Rafa don’t care much bout No1 okay?”
Nope, don’t believe that no how. And Rafa’s action proved otherwise when he played last year till the rd he knew he would capture #1, then went awol. Besides, ask Giles ;)

Willow Says:

Rafa lost to Thiem because Thiem was the better player pure and simple, Rafa won 50 straight sets on clay, which is an awesome record,and no disgrace to lose to such a player either, regarding the number 1 ranking Federer deserves to have it back, will he hang onto it time will tell ?

gonzalowski Says:

oh, hard loss to us fans 😭 … I don’t think it’s because of fatigue either, as Rafa recognized Thiem was better.
Dominic Thiem added Galo Blanco to his team this season, ex-coach of Raonic and Kachanov.

Giles Says:

Skeezer. You’re a man child to say the least. Gloating over Rafa’s loss and celebrating Feds wussy return to #1. The man has been hiding for the last few months avoiding facing Rafa on the clay. Pffffft.

skeezer Says:

Your the King of Gloat, not me. Just givin some back due to ya :)
Fed is smart, not hiding. You watch, Rafa will hide again when the grass calls. All good.
Fed numero uno.

Giles Says:

Rafa doesn’t hide. He will play grass even though he doesn’t do so well onthat surface anymore. Fed is the wuss, sh!te scared of what Rafa can do to him on the red stuff.

skeezer Says:

You no wuss @36, you play whenever you can and want to. At 31, you’re a wuss when you claim a knee thingy when the grass calls.

Okiegal Says:

Hey Giles….get busy and dig out some interesting links!! LOL

Daniel Says:


Sorry, but you don’t speak for all Rafa Fans and you can’t say: “we Rafan fasn…”, a lot of them and Nadal, actually care alot about the world #1, majority of fans and all players do. It’s why theya re cimpetitors and deep down most top players believe when they are on they can beat everybody, hence they excell.

If fans didn’t actually care they wouldn’t congratulate him when he get back #1 after Miami. It would ne a “no issue”, when actually don’t care about.


Rafa plays Wimbledon 1 graas tourney (with no tune up), becuse it is a Grand Slam, THE Grand Slam evey tennis player grow dreaming of winning. Also there is nothing left to play in that spam and he doesn’t like to stay out of court for too long. If Wimbledn was a HC he would plays just the same. Notice that his Queens / Halle commitment is long gone.

Daniel Says:

Also for Nadal during 2005-2018 (asusming he will play this year all Slmas), guess which one was the sole Grand Slam he had never missed? RG tah tah
And guees which other Slams he missed twice? Wimbledon and USO

He missed:
– Wimbledon: 2009 and 2016
– AO: 2013
– USO: 2012 and 2014

Was injured in AO 3 other times, retiring in 2 year, 2010 and 2018 and injured final in 2014. So basically 4 tourneys he has injury issues.
RG he retired mid tourney once in 2016.

RG is the tourney since 2005 which he gets least injured of all other 4 majors, go figure!

Giles Says:

Daniel. If I remember correctly Rafa won Wimbledon twice.

skeezer Says:

Rafa has rarely missed the entire Clay court season, for 10-11 years. He puts all his effort into it and it costs him when the schedule changes. When does he get injured? Usually not during the Clay season. If it does happen, he shuts down for the grass. He for sure is a usual no mat during the fall/winter stretch.

AndyMira Says:

Yeah Daniel…I shouldn’t said ‘We’…but my ‘We’ here were refer to me,Miss Okie & willow& not general Rafans…coz i talked a lot about it with them…and i know how they feel about it…And i think i was the only one here[Rafans] who didn’t congratulate Rafa when he is back to No1…

As for Rafa…i read an article once about him said how been No 1 is not important anymore compared to his health & happiness on court..but sorry,i can’t give u link was long time ago…But what u said probably true too…

Margot Says:

Ahem…ahem… there’s a tennis match going on at the mo…and rather a good one too.
The Dominator is playing so well Anderson is having to play out of his scull to keep up. 4-2 to The Dom right now.

Margot Says:

Amend that, The Dom played beautifully till he had to serve it out, had a huge wobble but pulled it back and takes the first 6-4.
Anderson starting to play better towards the end of the first set, however.

skeezer Says:

Roger that. Dom looks like he is backing up his win over Rafa nicely atm.

Margot Says:

Hey Skeeze,I’ve got some company!Whoopeedeedoop!
Amend that about Anderson, being well um…dominated. The Dom leads in the 2nd by 4-1.
Interesting tho Anderson is a huge guy he just can’t handle The Dom’s power.

Margot Says:

Team Thiem where are youoooo?
Absolutely dominant performance. Just shows H2Hs are not always good predictors of results, was 6-0 to Anderson. Tee hee….;)

chofer Says:

Thiem’s turnaround this week is so ridiculous that if you think this is part of a bad screenplay of Marvel movies, you would believe it!

He’s playing his best, as if nothing ever happened. Not something you see everyday.

Believe me when I say I saw his first two marches here and that he should have lost the second one. Not considering his match with Borna, whose a friend of mine told me he should have lost, too!!

What I’m saying is that these kind of resurgence is not in DNA current (and former) top tenners. For example, Federer plays well, he almost always wins. He’s playing regular, he can lose. The same can be said of whoever you want yo put in here.

chofer Says:

I think he’s playing finals with Zverev. Basing on current form, he has a chance.

When the week started. He had ZERO. No way you can predict something like this.

Margot Says:

chofer not sure what you’re suggesting but eg I have seen Andy playing rubbish early rounds of tournaments and slowly getting better and better as he plays himself in.
Madrid conditions are different from other cc tournaments so they probably get a little getting used to.

RZ Says:

Team Thiem checking in. Woohoo for Dom making the final. One more match to go. 💪💪💪

Chofer – we’ll make a fan of you yet! ☺

Okiegal Says:

Watching this match and Dom is killin’ it again today. He battled back after the 0-40 game….. wow! Yep I think he’s the real deal.

@Daniel…..Mira is right about the #1 issue. It is a great achievement…..he clawed his way back up the rankings in 8th place I think it was?? Anyway I don’t get that bent out of shape about him being #1 or 2 or 3…… being #1 = added pressure. Don’t worry about the #1 ranking that much….nor does Willow. Fed also fought his way back up the rankings too…. amazing athletes. They both just keep bringing it!

I’m so ready for Andy to be back…. I don’t have a second favorite with him out of the picture…….sigh,.,.,,,.😞😞

Okiegal Says:

By the time I got my comment done (I’m slow) Dom has done it and is in the finals! Good for him…..he’s my favorite young gun!!

skeezer Says:

Dom was awesome. He looka really good on Clay.

Margot Says:

OKiegal you need to become a tennis tart like me ;) Just lovin The Dom and Sascha and Denis and and and……;)
Have no idea when Andy will return. Rumours circulating about his recovery are not good. :(

Daniel Says:


Love Marvel movies, saw all of them in theather. Major geek here;-) hehe


Indeed, right now for Fed and Nadal, #1 don’t matter much as in the past, is more like a bonus. They will say its not the huge goal. But don’t caring is a whole different thing. In sports every competitor wants to be the best

Super happy Thiem won, the boy sure can play on clay. Its just a matter of time (and Nadal surrending his RG dominance) for him to get his title. If in 5-7 year time he doesn’t have at leats 1 RG I will be very surprised. I think for the under 23 players he is the safest bet ref RG win. He also gest 2 semis.

Assuming Nadal wins next 2 RG, in 2020 he wil be 34, and eventually the playing style will catch him, so a Thiem win is realistic. He will be 26, peak tennis years.

Okiegal Says:

@Margot……..I’m just not quite ready for “out with the old and in with the new”…….”I’m not tarty……….I’m more f***y……I’ll let you fill in the blanks! LOL!
I’m sorry that Andy’s future is not looking too bright……I hate to hear this, not good news…..😢😢

Willow Says:

I Cant speak for other Rafa fans, i can only speak for myself, i will say its fantastic been number 1, but not the end of the world if your not, however whomever does get it deserves it no matter how they got it, i think of all the weeks Wozniacki was no 1 without the a GS, now she has one im sure she wouldnt care either way,and ive never bought into all this crap that people spout about Rafa not relishing been number 1, or not a born leader yada friggin yada ….

Agree on Dom do like him and his game so hope he wins a GS, best of 5 is a different animal to best of 3 so time will tell ….

Okiegal Says:

@ Giles……… I have no response……..I’m at a loss for words, for once in my life!! 🤔🤔🤔

Willow Says:

A bit cheesy and not Federers finest hour, Madmax might like it, each to their own, not my cup of tea sorry ….

chofer Says:


Indeed is difficult to me to state Murray, but I think in his two Wimbys he was playing lights out, as far as I remember. Ditto Olympics ’12. That’s three of hos 5 best wins!

But easier to turnaround on a 5 set match schedule thab on best of three. The fact is that Thiem was playin crap fron the beggining of the year. And did so in Montecarlo and Barcelona (we was rolled over by Rafa 0 and 2!) wher he’s supposed to shine.

He was playing really bad. But enough of that, It seems.

chofer Says:

Ok sorry for the typos everyone, especially Grammar Nazi HR.


I had the misfortune to see him live, in the odficial box of the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis in ’16, SFs with Rafa. Misfortune because I came with ALL the intentions to see him play and like him (I had seen Rafa several times before and Thiem was the IT boy at that moment) and came away with several things I disliked about his game.

Things that, until two matches ago, were pretty evident to everyone.

Of course, when I see him play like he did against Rafa or today against Anderson, it’s easier for me to like him. The question is: how many of these matches has Thiem by year? 3,4,5? For someone who plays A LOT, it’s not enough.

When he’s playing bad, all of the shortccomings I see in him annoy me. Because I still see his game suitable for clay and not much else. If he were THIS aggressive elsewhere, well, I would reconsider. But I’ve never seen him this aggressive in other turf other than clay! And, sometimes, not even on it.

fred stone Says:

Watching Nadal always makes me think of bran muffins.;)

RZ Says:

Chofer, I’m just teasing you. You have a right to like/dislike whoever you like for whatever reason.

James Says:

What is almost entirely ignored is that Fed is 3 months away from being 37! He is still playing 50-60 ATP matches each year, including may best of 5. It would be plain dumb for him to play at this age on a surface that prolongs matches the most and wears out the body even more. He has played enough. 1400+ matches, so many on clay, 5 French finals – Rafa is obviously better than him on clay, nothing to prove there for either person. But then Rafa is the best clay courter ever.

Lets see if even Rafa can play the clay season 5 years from now!

Humble Rafa Says: ROFL
Hey Oki. What dya think?

His short is missing the RG sign. I can’t believe he would leave that out in that iconic picture.

In fact, I know that Skeeze also owns a pair like that.

Humble Rafa Says:

I have RG on my mind all the time. I meant RF.

Okiegal Says:

@Humble……. Glad you cleared that up…… I was confused, as usual! LOL!! I am bothered by the fact that he has on a nice jacket with tennis shorts…. not a fan of this particular look…..just sayin’ ……..

skeezer Says:

Re: 10:18 post
This is how you handle a loss. You mock others to make you feel good.

Willow Says:

Fans contradict each other here, some fans say wait till both retire to see whos GOAT etc, others say there is no wait till this or that, then you get posters saying wait till Rafas 37 ?

Amit Says:

Skeeze i am no rafan, but i stick to my feeling that Rafa was exhausted physically and even more mentally, otherwise he isnt losing to thiem in straight sets on even madrid clay!

Willow Says:

Giles that is one hell of a stat ….

Madmax Says:

Oh God, Just accept, whether it is Nadal or Federer, whoever has the most grand slams is regarded as the GOAT.

Then of course comes the fact that the best all rounder with the best skill set that is not predominantly based on clay adds further weight.

With Federer returning to No. 1 (I believe) on Monday, is fully justified, as it was with Nadal a few months ago – this is certainly their second wind! –

He is number one over the past year having won nine titles. And he is number one on current form in the race to the ATP Tour finals.

Both Rafa and Federer – just amazing.

For now, iit is Federer – 20 slams.

Now, who is to say that age 36, the likes of Thiem or Zverev if their career is as long, if not longer, could even surpass that.

Willow Says:

Madmax as its the clay court season thats why Rafa fans are discussing his achievements for the moment, if we cant talk about him now when can we ?, when we move on to grass it will all be about Federer again ….

Top story: Murray Overcomes Hurkacz In Vienna; Berrettini Gets Into Turin