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Rafael Nadal won 2-0 and claimed the title.

Rafael Nadal's flawless record on clay this season continued as he outgunned the impressive Dominic Thiem to win the Madrid Masters for a fifth time 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 on Sunday.

After losing his first three finals of the season - in Melbourne, Acapulco and Miami - Nadal has now won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid within the last four weeks.

Nadal held his serve to love in the ensuing game to move ahead at 6-5, and Thiem drove on to the tiebreak despite his opponent's best efforts to avoid any need with a last-ditch break attempt.

And, having set up a fourth match point, the 30-year-old steered a backhand volley away for a victor, before sinking to his knees in delight.

"This drop in level for Djokovic has to do with his fight to be No. 1 and to win as many matches as possible", Nadal said.

"I know Novak has made some changes in his coaching staff and I am sure he is a rival who is going to battle for all of the major titles in the future", he added.

"I got a break in the first game", Thiem said, as quoted on TennisWorldUSA.

The Spaniard and four-time victor in Madrid got off to a dream start in the 50th meeting between the two great rivals, winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic, with the home crowd wildly celebrating his first point - a potent return which the Serbian could only hit into the ground.

Nadal, a four-time victor in the Spanish capital, will prove a much sterner examination following his stunning straight-sets success over holder Novak Djokovic. Tomorrow I'll wake up with joy, and I will want to do things even better. "I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona", Thiem said. "I wasn't winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match".

Thiem was trying to win his ninth title, and the first since winning the Rio de Janeiro tournament in the beginning of the year.

"It will be a very hard match against one of the best sportsmen this sport has ever had, and to have a chance I'll have to be at my very best", Nadal said.

"This is a very emotional period of the season", Nadal told reporters. I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome. He withdrew from Barcelona last month because of a right wrist injury.

"It gives me the possibility to play another final and to continue in a positive line".

The victory also marked Nadal's 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.

Both players had their chances in the tie-break at the end of an hour-long first set, but eventually it was Nadal who prevailed with his fifth set point when Thiem fired long. It was his first final in a Masters 1000 event.

  • Julie Sanders