The 30-year-old Nadal won his fifth Mutua Madrid Open title and his record-tying 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, matching World No. 2 Novak Djokovic for the all-time lead.
This season Rafa Nadal emerged as the King of Clay, this year with record of 15-0 and straight three titles after his Barcelona Open and Monte Carlo Masters victories.
Nadal will be confirmed as the new world number four, replacing 18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, when the new rankings come out on Monday.
This season, Nadal improves to 15-0 on clay and has now won three consecutive titles, including two Masters 1000 crowns: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and the Mutua Madrid Open. The Spaniard has dropped only two of the 32 sets he’s played on the red dirt this year.
“Today is a day to be satisfied, to be happy and to have this trophy,” Nadal said.
“This is a very emotional period of the season. I really enjoy these tournaments. I just try to go for all of them. I try to compete. I did well in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, and also here. I hope to do the same in Rome.”
The 23-year-old Thiem was playing in his first Masters 1000 final, but the Austrian hardly looked intimidated against Nadal, who was backed by a friendly Spanish crowd. Thiem broke first for a 2-1 lead, blocking a backhand volley that Nadal couldn’t track down. The Austrian was dictating play from the middle of the court, blasting forehands to keep Nadal on the run. Austrian manage to push the first set to push in tie break and stress the Nadal. Thiem has been in outstanding form on clay this year, winning in Rio de Janeiro (d. Carreno Busta) and finishing runner-up in Barcelona (l. Nadal).
After this victory and looking at the record of 15-0 this year on clay question is open can anyone stop Nadal on clay?
But what stands out most is Nadal’s dominance in recording these wins. The Spaniard has won 30 of 32 sets he’s played on clay this year and recorded straight-sets wins against everyone he’s faced inside the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Major roadblocks including Djokovic, Thiem and David Goffin were swiftly brushed aside.
Halep, playing her third Madrid final in four years, held off a Mladenovic fightback to win 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 6-2.