Thiem ousts Cuevas to set a rematch with Nadal

Nadal told Television Espanola: "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". “I saved a few set points playing some good shots with my forehand.

"All in all, I did try my best". "I just try to go to each tournament to give the best of myself, being conscious when you are in the good way, as I am this year, I have confidence and security in myself".

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates at the end of his ATP 1000 Masters Men's Singles Semifinal match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2017. I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona, ” Thiem said.

On the women's side, Simona Halep of Romania won her second straight Madrid title by defeating Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 in almost three hours, becoming the first player to successfully defend the title since Serena Williams in 2013. These tournaments are so strong, so it's wonderful for me to go that far. If Nadal were to prevail at Roland Garros, he will become the first player in history to win a Grand Slam tournament on ten occasions.

The victory leaves Nadal in flawless shape for the Roland Garros where the French Open is set to kick off in a week's time.

With Djokovic begin to open his shoulders a little more, Nadal turned to his serve which has looked and registered a touch faster than a year ago, to keep him in control while continuing to trouble the Serb on his own serve.

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.

And in his first clay-court tournament of the year, in Monte Carlo, Djokovic was eliminated by David Goffin in the quarterfinals.

Having won Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Nadal is well-placed to add Madrid to what is becoming an impressive trophy collection this season.

"Since the beginning, I was playing with a lot of pressure". In total, Rafael managed to play 38 games and won 33 victories in this successful season for himself. I'm just a little bit sore, tight.

It will be the Spaniard's eighth final at his home tournament, and the first since losing to Andy Murray in 2015.

Rome will be Djokovic's last tournament before he defends his title at the French Open.

Again Djokovic's level improved as the set wore on to make Nadal serve it out. But I think I played well the important points at the end of the first set. 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.

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