'Five months without playing in a tournament means that I can not be No. 1. "To beat Rafa on clay, you have to have a special day". On his next service game, Thiem saved two break points of his own, including one with a courageous approach to the net.
He lost to Dominic Thiem past year as well, at the Italian Open. He did not play another match on tour until mid-April.
"Five months without playing in a tournament means that I can not be No 1. I think the level of my game increased especially in this week". Of course, only until today. At the end of the year we will see what happens. Nadal fired long off his backhand side to once more go a break behind and there would be no chance for another reprieve as Thiem held to love before a searing cross-court forehand wrapped up the contest, his excellent performance serving as a reminder that the King is indeed beatable on clay. Thiem has played a lot of tennis to get to this point, but his confidence now has to be higher than ever.
He said: "He played well. The differences are very small".
Nadal has won two titles on clay this season and is in seemingly unstoppable form as he has won 46 consecutive sets.
Nadal, who recorded his 20th straight clay-court match win besides also improving his consecutive sets won on clay streak to 48, is bidding to snap John McEnroe's 49-set winning streak on the carpet in 1984. The streak was snapped when he dropped the opening set to Thiem.More news: Vettel: Mercedes are 'back to normal'
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Lajovic will now face South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber.
'I think from Shanghai till Monte-Carlo, I hadn't finished a single tournament. Like this I should go in every match against him. It's up to us, to continue to progress and to believe that we can beat him. He won 7-5,6-3 to finish the match in two sets itself.
Shapovalov, 19, ranked at 43 in the world, fired 29 winners past Edmund, a surprise semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January.
The fifth-seeded Thiem avenged his loss to Nadal in last year's Madrid final and earned his third career victory in nine meetings with Nadal, all on clay.
'You can not be No. 1 five months without competing, ' he said after the 5-7 3-6 loss to the fifth seed. This is the only Masters 1000 tournament Thiem has ever made the final in. She will play seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia after she dispatched with Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3.