Nadal beat battling Thiem to claim fifth Madrid Open crown

Nadal pulled off a running forehand victor, and Djokovic hit wide to concede the break again. He also beat Thiem in the Barcelona final in a much more lopsided contest.

Rafael Nadal is near his best again, and he showed it with an emphatic win over a rival he hadn't beaten in three years.

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

"I gave everything that I could", Thiem said.

Djokovic went into the game fresher than the Spaniard after Kei Nishikori's wrist injury game him a bye in the quarter-final, but perhaps a day without competition effected his rhythm as he struggled to come with Nadal, who claimed the first set with few problems.

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They probed and passed each other, and at the last gasp, Djokovic worked a break point as Nadal, clearly tight for the first time this match, netted a forehand.

Nadal claimed the first set against Thiem after a lengthy tiebreak which finished 10-8.

Nadal has just dropped one set at the Madrid Open so far, in his first match against Italian Fabio Fognini. Winning is very important but also the way I'm playing at the moment makes me very relaxed.

"All in all, I did try my best".

World No 58 Evans had chances to break and recover from a hard start at 4-1 down in the first set, but Vesely showed his fighting spirit by saving every one of Evans's eight break points in the contest. But considering we haven't seen Federer play on clay this year, and the fact that historically he gets destroyed by Nadal on clay, it seems more than likely that Nadal will sweep the clay court season this year. I am happy the way I played today, being able to make it to the final once again. I try to compete.

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At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Britain's Dan Evans fell to a straight sets-defeat to Jiri Vesely in the first round.

Nastase has been banned from the French Open and Wimbledon after he was ejected from Romania's Fed Cup clash with Great Britain last month for a series of foul-mouthed rants directed at British captain Anne Keothavong and No. 1 Johanna Konta, as well as umpires and members of the press.

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. Because I'm not walking perfectly doesn't mean I have an injury.

"As years go by, depending on the type of victories, (they) can fulfil you a little bit more or less". I'm 31 years old. It's, I think, one of biggest weapons, the serve. 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. "That's the joy that keeps you going, that keeps you alive".

It also is his 30th career ATP Masters title, tying Novak Djokovic for first place.

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In the head-to-head record between the two Madrid Open finalists, Nadal has won three out of the four matches against Thiem with Nadal's latest win coming in the finals of the Barcelona Open.

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