Nole is through to the Madrid final!
Top seed Novak Djokovic battled past fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) on Saturday to reach his third Mutua Madrid Open final.
It was a physical baseline battle that lasted two hours and 22 minutes. Thiem broke first in both sets, but Novak responded well raising his level to fight back. The 31-year-old Serb broke his rival in the 11th game of the second set to move ahead for the first time. He served for the match at 6-5, but double faulted, letting the Austrian back into the contest. However, the 15-time Grand Slam champion maintained his focus in both tie-breaks and moved through to the championship match.
Djokovic now leads the pair’s ATP H2H series 6-2.
“I played the best match of the clay-court season so far, for me, against arguably the best tennis player in the world on this surface, this season,” said Djokovic. “Dominic had an amazing tournament in Barcelona and here he beat Roger yesterday in a thrilling match. So he was in form. I just managed to hold my nerves and play the best when it was most needed.”
Match statistics: aces (3-2), double faults (1-2), winners (17-26), unforced errors (29-39), total points won (90-81).
Novak advanced to his 48th ATP Masters 1000 final (32-15). He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE, 8) on Sunday at 18:30 CET.
The Next Generation Greek star outplayed Rafael Nadal in stunning performance, earning one of the biggest wins of his career (6-4, 2-6, 6-3).
Stefanos beat Nole in their only previous meeting, at Rogers Cup in Toronto last year.
Novak is trying to tie Nadal’s record of 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Every time he has won semi-final at Caja Magica (2011, 2016), Djokovic has gone on to win the trophy.