Rafael Nadal consolidated his flying start to the clay-court season by taking a record-extending fifth Madrid Open title on Sunday, battling past a determined Dominic Thiem to win 7-6(10-8) 6-4.
The Spaniard, who snapped a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic to win their semi-final on Saturday, was given a much sterner test by Thiem than in last month’s final of the Barcelona Open.
Nadal had easily beaten Thiem 6-4 6-1 in Barcelona but got an early scare when he was broken in Sunday’s third game, soon falling 3-1 behind as the Austrian held.
Nadal broke back to win the sixth game and earned three set points at 5-4 but world number nine Thiem saved each one to eventually hold and force the tie-break.
Rafael Nadal overpowers Dominic Thiem to win fifth Madrid title reuters