Rafael Nadal breaks John McEnroe's 34-year-old record

Rafael Nadal breaks John McEnroe's 34-year-old record

Rafael Nadal breaks John McEnroe's 34-year-old record

Thiem was producing the same scintillating level of tennis which saw him overcome Nadal in Rome 12 months ago, and he moved a break up in the second set after an epic third game.

The last man to beat Rafael Nadal did it again Friday in Madrid as Dominic Thiem stunned Rafa in front of his home fans in emphatic fashion 7-5, 6-3. The Austrian defeated world number 1 and Madrid champion Rafael Nadal and he continued in the same style today, overpowering the South African with a full package of good serving and deep and accurate groundstrokes that left Anderson with no chances in his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final (he had lost the previous 10 quarter-finals he played prior to Madrid).

Describing Thiem as "one of the best players in the world", Nadal admitted that the Austrian player performed exceedingly well while he was never in a good position throughout the match.

He returned to Tour action only in April, winning the Monte Carlo title for an 11th time before rolling through the draw in Barcelona for his 11th triumph there. He got the better of long rallies by hitting precise winners, and avoided the costly errors that sunk Nadal's title defense.

"I don't think it's that way", Nadal, who also beat Thiem en route to the Roland Garros title a year ago, told reporters.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion, who had won 50 straight sets on the red dirt, ceded his world No 1 ranking to Roger Federer.

Elsewhere Kevin Anderson beat Croatian qualifier Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 to qualify for the semifinals. Some days you don't play as well as you'd like to play.

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The British No1 saved a match point at the end of a feisty second set which also involved an incident in which he was distracted by a spectator.

Thiem held his nerve to seal the set with an ace and he refused to let his foot off the pedal in the second.

The victory, in straight sets no less, ended Nadal's 21-match win streak, which had included 50 record-breaking consecutive sets on clay.

Nadal, 31, broke McEnroe's 49-set winning run, achieved on carpet in 1984. If he plays well, I just need to stop him.

"I believe a lot in dynamics, in momentum", Nadal said. "To beat Rafa on clay you have to have a special day".

Kvitova will meet Kiki Bertens in the final after she beat seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia, 6-2, 6-2.

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