Madrid Open: Thiem ends Nadal's unbeaten run

Rafael Nadal further cemented his legacy as the greatest clay court player in the history of tennis, winning 50 straight sets on his signature surface dating back to past year.

Dominic Thiem and Kristina Mladenovic are having a great week at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Rafael Nadal suffered his first clay-court defeat in nearly a year when the world number one was shocked 7-5, 6-3 by Austria's Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals on Friday.

Federer returns to the summit despite not playing since 24 March and sitting out the clay-court season, as Nadal will lose the ranking points from his win in Madrid past year when the list is updated on Monday.

Nadal, who reached a record 50-set unbeaten run on the surface on his way to the last eight, was beaten 7-5 6-3 by Thiem.

Since Nadal was the defending champion in Madrid, the loss of points puts him at No. 2 in the ranking behind Roger Federer.

Although the 24-year-old Austrian failed to convert a set point in the ninth game, he pounced at the second time of asking to seal the first set with an ace.

Thiem unsettled Nadal from the start, breaking his serve twice in the first set.

"I must be honest, I think I did a good job then because I didn't really think of it too much of my 0-10 record in Masters 1000 quarterfinals", said Anderson afterwards. "I had to go for shots and go down the line and everything worked today". "That's the end of the story". "Also when that happens it's because your opponent is doing really well". This was the first win for Dominic over Kevin in seven matches but it has to be said that all previous encounters came on hard courts and that the Austrian had a chance to win at least two of those.

"I believe a lot in dynamics, in momentum", Nadal said.

"I think a very important thing also was today that I went in with the attitude that I can beat him".

He returned to Tour action only in April, winning the Monte Carlo title for an 11th time before rolling through the draw in Barcelona for his 11th triumph there.

Dominic Thiem followed up his sensational victory over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal by easing past Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 Saturday to reach the Madrid Masters final. Anderson, the 31-year-old US Open runner-up last year, hit 15 aces and 35 winners.

  • Stacy Allen