Dominic Thiem snapped Rafael Nadal's 21-match win streak on clay in style as he booked his spot in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open and he insists that the main factor behind his success was belief.
Nadal remains confident on his favourite surface, despite having no complaints about the outcome of his tussle with Thiem.
The fifth-seeded Thiem avenged his loss to Nadal here in last year's final, and earned his third career victory in nine meetings with Nadal, all on clay.
"I must be honest, I think I did a good job then because I didn't really think of it too much of my 0-10 record in Masters 1000 quarterfinals", said Anderson afterwards.
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It was a brief reprieve as a lazy forehand volley gave Thiem a 6-5 advantage and the set came the Austrian's way in the 12th game off an ace.
"Hopefully I can go even further".
While Thiem played to his strengths, Nadal made a number of mistakes in the match, including sending four serves in a row into the net for back-to-back double faults in the second set. "Small things happen that normally when you're in a good momentum, those things don't happen". So I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did.
"I think that today I didn't read the ball well enough to be able to handle the situation, to put him into places where he didn't feel comfortable. That's what I'm working on", Nadal said, as quoted by ATP's official website. I am number three in the race of the year, which is the most important thing. "I was not under control of the point [for most of] the match", Nadal said.
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Thiem, the No. 5 seed, will next face sixth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 victor over Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic. While clay has never been Anderson's best surface, his power game is there and that always makes him a threat.
In the other semifinal, second-seeded German Alexander Zverev will be opposed by Canadian Denis Shapovalov. Thiem finally broke Nadal at 3-3, but the Spanish champion clawed his way back into the set and saved a set point at 4-5 down, when Thiem hit a forehand long.
'I mean, there is a reason why I did my first Masters finals here previous year.
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