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

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after the men's final against Austria's Dominic Thiem at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, May 14, 2017.

The Spaniard will look to win the Madrid Masters and the upcoming Italian Open en route to a potential 10th French Open title next month.

A missed drop shot here and an overhit forehand there saw Nadal gift Thiem a 15-40 lead, but the veteran powered back, saving four break points before sealing match point at the second time of asking.

It doesn't seem like anybody who's been playing in these tournaments can beat Nadal, in fact, he's only lost two sets in the three tournaments that he's won. The third-seeded Halep, who also lost the 2014 final to Maria Sharapova, will play to keep her title against eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russian Federation or Kristina Mladenovic of France. What I'm really happy about is to achieve a title like this here in Madrid. Also after losing to Nadal in the finals of the Barcelona Open last month, Thiem will be determined to get one over him. Neither player could break again and while the home favourite took the lead in the tie-break, his Austrian opponent briefly staged a comeback before Nadal clinched the set.

"Anything could have happened at the end of the first set, but I think I played well the important points at the end", Nadal said.

But Halep bounced back in emphatic fashion to win the last six games for the loss of just 14 points.

The reverse drained Thiem's belief as well as his energy resources as he was broken in the first game of the second set, an advantage Nadal did not relinquish.

Nadal second party began to break, but the hardest was waiting for the Spaniard in the tenth game, when he came to serve for the tournament.

He blamed his elimination mostly on Nadal's good form.

It feels ironic that the only times that Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have ever met is on clay, with only one win for the young Austrian in Buenos Aires previous year. "I knew that I had to play well". It's logical that after a hard week, I've been playing a lot of matches, a lot of hours out there on the court, I feel like it's (knee) sore, a little bit exhausted. "I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona". "Obviously he didn't play very good today". According to ATP's official website, a victory on Sunday would make Thiem "the first ATP Masters 1000, ATP Finals or Grand Slam champion born after 1988". I can actually make a strong case for that being a negative as the Scot is now very much in a period when he's going to see his number one ranking start to slip - he has many ranking points to defend at present. Tomorrow I'll wake up with joy, and I will want to do things even better.

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