Nadal meets his match
Rafa Nadal’s incredible run of 17 successive wins on the clay courts this season, was brought to an end by Dominic Thiem who upset him at te quarter-final stage of the Rome Masters.
He had the control of the points much more times than me. That's the key of this game Rafa Nadal
Thiem is fast becoming Nadal’s likely successor on clay as the Austrian has proved one of the most trickier of the young generation that the Spaniard has had to deal with this year.
Thiem brought an aggressive game which Nadal was unable to stem in what proved an exciting match between two players not wishing to give any ground. However, it was the 23 year who emerged the victor 6-4 6-3 after nearly two hours of intense play.
Nadal, who beat Thiem in the Barcelona and Madrid finals, will now concentrate on winning his 10th French Open title, acknowledging hs defeat with grace.
“He played very aggressive, hitting the ball very strong,” the 30-year-old Spaniard said. “The court here is probably the smaller on all the center courts on clay, so that makes the players who play with bigger serve and hitting the ball strong, you know, is a little bit more easier for them to see the option to hit winners.
“So he did it. He played very long. He didn’t miss a lot. Played high intensity. In general I was not able to push him back. He had the control of the points much more times than me. That’s the key of this game.”
Thiem will now face either Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro the pair having been forced to abandon their quarter-final by rain with the score at 6-1 1-2 in the Serb’s favour.
In the other half rising German star Alexander Zverev, 20, reached his first Masters semi-final with a 7-6(4) 6-1 defeat of world number six Milos Raonic. He will face
John Isner for a place in the final after the American beat Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6(3) 2-6 7-6(2).
In the women’s tournament, third seed Garbine Muguruza beat Venus Williams 6-2 3-6 6-2 and will contest the semis against Elina Svitolina who in turn defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-2 7-6(7).
In the other half Kiki Bertens beat Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3 while the title favourite Simona Halep, came through 6-2 6-4 against Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-2 6-4