'I played great matches against Rafael Nadal', says ATP ace



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'I played great matches against Rafael Nadal', says ATP ace

Rafael Nadal claimed the milestone of the 30th Masters 1000 crown in Madrid 2017. The home favorite beat Dominic Thiem 7-6, 6-4 after two hours and 15 minutes of an extraordinary battle for the fourth Caja trophy magical. It was one of the best clay court matches of that season, with the players pushing themselves to the limit, especially in the first match which lasted almost 80 minutes.

Nadal overcame two set points to take the break 10-8 and broke Thiem early in the second set to stay in front until the end and earn his 15th win in as many matches on clay in 2017. Thus, Rafa lifted his third consecutive title on clay that spring and the 72nd of his career.

Chasing his first Masters 1000 crown, Thiem fought like a lion, proving that he was the second best player in the world on the slowest surface at the time behind Rafa. The Austrian saved two match points on his serve in the ninth game of the second set, but Rafa remained focused and brought the match home on his serve a few minutes later, having repelled four break chances.

Thus, he caught up with Novak Djokovic in 30 Masters 1000 crowns. Thiem attempted to become the first player born after 1988 with a notable title, showing his class and ability to win big trophies on clay. In the Barcelona final a few weeks ago, Thiem couldn't keep up with Nadal after the close of the first set.

Still, the Austrian played some incredible tennis in the Spanish capital, chasing down the king of clay on literally every point and staying in contention for almost two hours and 20 minutes before laying down his arms. Rafa defended like he did in his best days, chasing every ball and constantly forcing his opponent to play an extra shot.

He took command in the most critical rallies with brave and aggressive tennis.

Jannik Sinner opens up on Nadal

Jannik Sinner has described Rafael Nadal as "one of the greatest of all time" and revealed he would like to play doubles with the Spaniard some day.

"I choose Rafa because I know him," Sinner said. " He is one of the greatest of all time. Yeah, me in doubles - I'm not so good. So, if we lose it's my fault (laughs). I'll play with Rafa against Borg and Vilas," Thiem said.

"Rafa - I know him pretty well. I played great matches against him, so it would be nice to play doubles with him. I will choose Rafa," Fognini said. "Yeah physically, I think we are stronger [than Borg and Vilas]. So, I hope that works (laughs)."