Passes the idle Roger Federer in the rankings, guaranteeing a top-4 seed at the French Open regardless of what happens in Rome.
"I feel great. It means a lot to play my first final at this level". This battle was a lot closer as Thiem saved two Championship points at 5-4 in the second set until the veteran Nadal closed the match out. After that I went for it..
"I think it was a tough match since the beginning, especially here in altitude, which is hard to make breaks against a player like Thiem".
Dominic Thiem lost to Rafael Nadal for the second time in a row after the Barcelona final, also this time in straight sets, but the match was more balanced in Madrid.
Djokovic, playing his first tournament since splitting with his long-time coaching team, won just four points in the opening four games as he fell 4-0 down to a rejuvenated Nadal.
These last few weeks have been very special.
"The truth is I was up against an opponent who, in the next five to 10 years, will be fighting for the most important titles, so I'm very happy to have won, Nadal said". Ultimately, Nadal overcame his nerves as well as a bundle of break points with some clutch serving and by going bigger on his groundstrokes, eventually setting up a backhand volley to seal the title.
That the two men were among the four most prolific Major champions, both with career Grand Slams, and both with repeated stretches as world No1 only added to their status in tennis's record books: Djokovic had a tally of 223 weeks at the top, Nadal 141 weeks.
In an even first set, Nadal had to save two set points in the tiebreaker.
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But the Spaniard, buoyed by his belief and eager to avoid a third set, would earn two more championship points, converting the fourth with a backhand volley victor. 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 just try to go for all of them.
After wining the Monte Carlo Masters, the Barcelona Open and now his fifth Madrid title, Nadal is 15-0 on clay and the overwhelming favourite to lift an unprecedented 10th Roland Garros title later in May.
Djokovic hasn't reached a final since winning his first tournament of the year in Doha in January.
"It was a good fight out there".
"I did try my best", Djokovic said. The semifinal in question is scheduled for Saturday and would've been played out by the time you read this. He also made it to three finals, losing two of them to Federer, including at the Australian Open.
A finalist in Madrid in 2014, Nishikori lost his last 10 matches against Djokovic, including in the semifinals in Madrid a year ago.
The Spaniard delighted his home fans by downing Austria's Dominic Thiem in the final, 7-6, 6-4. His other titles came in 2005, 2010 and 2013.
"Ninety-nine percent of players would accept to have the type of slump Djokovic has had", Nadal said. I really enjoy these tournaments.