Dominic Thiem beat Kevin Anderson for the first time in seven attempts to reach the Madrid Open final for the second successive year.
The Austrian fifth seed won 6-4 6-2 as he continued the scintillating form that ended top seed Rafa Nadal’s year-long unbeaten run on clay in the quarterfinals.
“(Beating Nadal) gave me a huge boost of confidence,” Thiem told atpworldtour.com. “But at the same time, it was a completely different matchup today. There was also the fact that I never beat him. It was 0-6 before today. Some things were a little bit shaky.
“I was keeping my level up from yesterday, so that was a great thing. The way I started was also well. Even though I played really different, I was returning very far back today. Almost everything worked out. To beat him 4 and 2, it’s a very good result.”
South African Anderson, seeded sixth, was playing in his first Masters 1000 semifinal but faded after a solid start.
While Thiem had a 0-6 record against Anderson, the pair had never met on clay and the longer rallies suited his heavy baseline game.
Thiem needed a single break of serve in the opening set and broke twice in the second to wrap up victory.
He will play Alexander Zverev who steamrolled Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-1.
The second-seeded German needed just 56 minutes to dismantle the teenage Canadian, breaking serve four times in the process.
“It was great. It was a great match,” Zverev said. “Obviously it’s not easy to play Denis. Great player. Great talent. Hopefully he’ll still improve and there are a lot more matches like this in the future.
“I’ve been in this moment before. We (Dominic and I) have played each other in this moment before. I’m just happy to be in the final and play for another Masters  title.”
Thiem takes a winning 4-1 record into the final against Zverev, and has won all three of their meetings on clay.
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