World no. 1 and two-time Madrid Masters 1000 champion Novak Djokovic earned the place in the 107th ATP final and the 48th at the Masters 1000 series last year in Caja Magica after a thrilling 7-6, 7-6 triumph over Dominic Thiem in two hours and 22 minutes.
Playing the best tournament since the Australian Open when he claimed the 15th Grand Slam title, Novak secured the title clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas or Rafael Nadal, prevailing in one of the best matches of the previous season on clay.
The first set was excellent, with great rivals pushing each other to the limits after some marvelous hitting from both wings, covering the baseline beautifully and giving the crowd something to cheer about in almost every point.
The intensity dropped slightly in set number two but the excitement was still there, with Novak managing to win nine points more and prevail when it mattered the most in both sets to cross the finish line first and book a place in the third Madrid final.
They both had more unforced errors than winners, which is completely normal, considering the grueling pace. Djokovic had the upper hand in both the shortest and mid-range exchanges, hitting 25% of service winners and doing more damage with the first serve.
On the other hand, Thiem had his chances as well, creating ten break chances and converting only three, allowing Novak to steal his serve three times from as many opportunities and losing ground in both tie breaks to miss a chance of reaching the third straight Madrid final.
The Austrian kicked off the match in a more reliable fashion, opening a 3-1 lead before Novak broke back at 2-3, fending off a couple of break opportunities in game nine and claiming the tie break 7-2 with a service winner after 64 minutes.
Just like in the opener, Dominic had the advantage in set number two that didn't last for long, suffering a break at 15 in game seven to bring Novak in and finding himself on the verge of defeat when the Serb broke him at 5-5, serving for the match in the next game.
Fighting until the very end, Thiem broke back at love to set up a tie break and extend the set and his chances before Novak clinched five of the last six points in the breaker to seal the deal and avoid more drama and time on the court.