Nadal for the fifth time won the masters in Madrid

Thursday, 18 May, 2017

Nadal has won 30 of 32 sets he has played during a three-city jaunt through Europe that has seen him claim titles in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

Rafael Nadal continued his clay-court dominance by dispatching Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets on Sunday to win the Madrid Open.

A buoyant Nadal then moved ahead early in the second and despite Thiem's best efforts he could not force a way back into the final.

Nadal improves to 4-1 lifetime over the 23-year-old with today's win, and 34-5 in 2017 (15-0 on clay).

"I'm very happy for what I achieved", Nadal said.

Yet Nadal, coming back into form after two underwhelming years, was quick to play down suggestions that he is already the favourite for the French Open and, by default, the Rome Masters - a tournament he is looking to win for an eighth time.

Nadal had to stave off a break point on his own serve to consolidate the break for 2-0.

The Austrian held, and saved two more set points in the first-set tiebreaker. 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.

"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. After that I went for it". Now that I did it once, play really well in such a big tournament, next step is to maintain this level to the next week. The 2017 Monte Carlo Masters was his first title victory since April 2016 when he beat Kei Nishikori in the finals at Barcelona.

“It was a good fight out there. I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona. The clear favorite for Roland Garros and having accomplished all of his immediate goals, the question now becomes if Nadal, at nearly 31, even plays Rome or elects to rest.

Nadal has a tour-leading 34 victories in what has been a superb season following lean years for the 14-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal has reached six finals this season, including losses to Roger Federer at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

The 30-year-old had a special recognition for Thiem who has been his rival in the last two finals.

Nadal has now won at least one ATP title every year since 2004.

Romania's Simona Halep successfully defended her Madrid Open title in the Women's Tennis Association Premier Mandatory event. His previous wins came in 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2014.