Rafael Nadal, extending his winning streak on clay this year to 17-0, sets a quarter-final clash against Dominic Thiem.
Nadal, enjoying his best clay season in two years, continued his preparations for the French Open with an “aggressive” win over the 13th-seeded American Jack Sock in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. The 30-yr old broke Sock’s serve twice in the second set to finally serve out the match.
With this win, Nadal picked up his 36th win in 2017 and has 33-2 in terms of sets.
Speaking of Nadal’s next opponent, the “workhorse” Thiem, he is probably the only person playing much more physical tennis than Nadal right now. The 8th-seeded Austrian fought back from a set down to survive against Sam Querrey in thrilling 3 sets 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7), saving three match points in the process. He also saved five match points to win against Grigor Dimitrov in their round of 16 match at the Mutua Madrid open last week.
Nadal is leading the way as the “clear favorite” to win an 8th title at the Foro Italico with consecutive clay-court events at Madrid, Barcelona and Monte Carlo in his pockets.
Nadal will be up against Thiem for the third time in just four weeks. The duo will be meeting for the fifth time with Nadal leading their Head to head 4-1, with all of their previous matches on clay. Nadal has got the better of Thiem this year in staright sets in Barcelona and Madrid finals.
Thoughts on his next match, Nadal said “Tomorrow I’m up against Dominic, he’s a player who’s having more success on clay so it will be another tough battle.”
While Thiem said “It’s going to be a really amazing experience for me to play him third time in a very short time. I mean, it has been two very good matches, Barcelona and Madrid. I hope it’s going to be a third very good one tomorrow.”
Nadal has managed to win his matches in straight sets of late. However, Thiem has won in longer matches which includes his 3-set win against Querrey on Thursday. This match is going to be a blockbuster showdown between the two as even though Thiem seems tireless, Nadal is “unbeatable” on clay at the moment.