Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win Madrid Open

He also beat Thiem in the Barcelona final in a much more lopsided contest.

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.

Rome, where the Spaniard is a seven-time champion, beckons.

Despite a straight sets defeat to Nadal that suggested the Serb, too, has yet to reach his peak, Djokovic remains buoyed.

It was another disappointing loss for the struggling Djokovic, who hasn't reached a final since winning his first tournament of the year in Doha. Nadal escaped the tricky Fabio Fognini before dismissing Nick Kyrgios and David Goffin in straight sets.

Djokovic showed his resistence of old to break back when Nadal netted after being stretched out on the backhand side to level at 2-2.

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. Anything could have happened at the end of the first set.

That set for the stage for a thrilling tie-break, in which Nadal led 5-3 before losing his way, only to recover and save a pair of Thiem set points. But in December or January, I was not expecting to play badly, because I knew I was doing a very good off-season. "I think Feliciano played really well, especially in the second set".

He has also now become the new number four in the world. But again it was not easy.

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.

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.

We saw a poor performance from Djokovic, and Nadal who is looking absolutely magnificent on clay this season, used this situation and immediately imposed his style of play. "I'm ready for tomorrow against a very tough opponent", said Nadal. I just try to focus. In Monte-Carlo and Barcelona I did well, same here. I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome. He withdrew from the Barcelona Open last month because of the lingering wrist inflammation.

"I feel great that I could defend this title", Halep said. Because I'm not walking perfectly doesn't mean I have an injury. I'm 31 years old. "Right now I'm not thinking of anything else". "That's the joy that keeps you going, that keeps you alive".

He had landed a first win over Novak Djokovic for three years on Saturday and has now equalled Djokovic's record of 30 Masters Series titles.

With Friday's rain relenting, the roof open and the sun beating down on the Caja Magica there were plenty of stars in attendance and Real Madrid fan Nadal will have been pleased to see Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Raul watching on.

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