Can Novak Djokovic turn his season around?

Dominic Thiem lost to Rafael Nadal for the second time in a row after the Barcelona final, also this time in straight sets, but the match was more balanced in Madrid.

Nadal is now tied with Novak Djokovic for the most Masters titles and will have the chance to set a new record next week. In total, Rafael managed to play 38 games and won 33 victories in this successful season for himself.

"It was an important match for me because it meant continuing with the good dynamic that I've been carrying for several months", Nadal said.

His fourth win over Thiem in five meetings was confirmed after two hours and 17 minutes as his forehand began to fire in scenes reminiscent of his glory days of years gone by.

However finally Djokovic found a groove with his serve, held to love, and then swung a couple of fine backhand down-the-line shots and a return-of-serve victor for deuce against Nadal. If I'm at my best and he's at his best on clay, he's probably the better player. 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.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion will also overtake Roger Federer to number four in the world rankings that will improve his seeding ahead of the French Open, which Nadal will look to win for a record 10th time.

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Ronaldo could be seen smiling with joy as Nadal closed out the final set and booking his place in the latter stage of the tournament.

Early signs weren't good for Thiem after a break between sets as he surrendered his serve at the first time of asking, and despite keeping his enemy stuck to his own baseline at times, the Spanish native spun the fixture in his favour.

But, having appeared to quickly settle into the groove in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, the world number 27 produced some loose shots in the fifth game that cost him a decisive break. This marked his 30th Masters 1000 title in Madrid and proved to the doubters that his career is not over.

"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", added Nadal who will now face either Pablo Cuevas or Domenic Thiem in Sunday's final. 'I got a break in the first game. The 2017 Monte Carlo Masters was his first title victory since April 2016 when he beat Kei Nishikori in the finals at Barcelona.

We saw a poor performance from Djokovic, and Nadal who is looking absolutely magnificent on clay this season, used this situation and immediately imposed his style of play. He also beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo where he made the semis. "I hope to do the same in Rome".

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