Thiem wins thriller against Federer, Nadal hits top form

Published by AP/Tennismash

Rodger Federer congratulates opponent Dominic Thiem after their quarterfinal in Madrid; Getty Images
Dominic Thiem wins a thrilling quarterfinal against Roger Federer to join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Madrid Open semifinals.

A day after saving two match points at the Madrid Open, Roger Federer saw two match points of his own slip by as he lost to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals on Friday.

The Austrian came through a thrilling contestĀ 3-6 7-6(11) 6-4 to set up a clash with world No.1 Novak Djokovic, while Rafael Nadal andĀ Stefanos Tsitsipas complete an impressive semifinal line-up.

Defeat might have ended Federer’s first appearance at a claycourt tournament in three years, but the Swiss was not leaving the Spanish capital too disappointed with the outcome of his return.

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“I feel very good about my game. I thought I had some good matches here,” he said.

“I feel good on the clay right now. It’s been a good week. Frustrating, clearly. Losing with match points is the worst, so that’s how I feel. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it’s all good.”

Federer skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season. He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.

Fifth seed Thiem, runner-up in Madrid the last two seasons, will next face top-ranked Djokovic, who did not have to play his quarterfinal after Marin Cilic withdrew because of food poisoning.

Thiem has a chance to win his third title of the year after victories in Barcelona and Indian Wells, where he defeated Federer in a three-set final.

“Facing him, it always requires my absolute best game and also a little bit luck, which I both had in Indian Wells and also here, and that’s why I won these two matches,” Thiem said.

The other semifinal will be between Tsitsipas and five-time Madrid champion Nadal. Tsitsipas defeated defending champion Alexander Zverev 7-5 3-6 6-2, while Nadal cruised past Stan Wawrinka 6-1 6-2.

Nadal lost only seven points on his service games, conceding no break opportunities against the 34th-ranked Wawrinka. The Swiss lost the 2013 Madrid final to Nadal.

“It was one of my best matches in a long time, my best match on clay this year,” said the Spaniard. “It means a lot to have this feeling in this crucial moment of the clay season.”

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