Nadal beats Thiem in Madrid

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - TALES AZZONI

MADRID — Rafael Nadal de­feated Do­minic Thiem, 7-6 (8), 6-4, on Sun­day in the Madrid Open ten­nis fi­nal to win his third straight ti­tle and con­tinue his good form head­ing into the French Open.

Nadal with­stood a tough chal­lenge from the ninth-ranked Thiem, con­vert­ing on his fourth match point to earn his 15th straight vic­tory on clay and tie No­vak Djokovic’s record of 30 ca­reer ti­tles in Masters 1000 events.

The tri­umph at his home tour­na­ment gave Nadal his 72nd ca­reer ti­tle, and 52nd on clay.

It was Nadal’s sec­ond straight win against the 23-year-old Aus­trian, com­ing two weeks af­ter the Barcelona Open fi­nal when the fifth-ranked Spa­niard cruised to vic­tory in straight sets.

Nadal also won in Monte Carlo last month.

“These last few weeks have been very spe­cial. I’m very happy for what I achieved,” Nadal said. “It means a lot to me to win at home, it’s al­ways a spe­cial place for me.”

Nadal had eas­ily de­feated Thiem in Barcelona, los­ing only five games in a two-set vic­tory, but was forced to work a lot harder on Sun­day.

In an even first set, Nadal had to save two set points in the tiebreaker. The Spa­niard con­verted his fifth set point of the match to take that tiebreaker and go one set up. Nadal broke early in the sec­ond set but was not able to pull away, and needed to save four break points in the fi­nal game be­fore clos­ing out the match.

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