Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal's worries pile up as Dominic Thiem stuns 11-time champion; Daniil Medvedev also in final

'I'm happy with how I played, I was competitive for the first time (in a few matches). Things were positive even if I lost,' Rafael Nadal insisted despite the defeat.

Agence France-Presse April 28, 2019 00:00:04 IST
Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal's worries pile up as Dominic Thiem stuns 11-time champion; Daniil Medvedev also in final
  • Dominic Thiem, who lost the Roland Garros final to Nadal last year, denied him the opportunity to become the first man to capture the same ATP title 12 times.

  • Thiem will on Sunday face Daniil Medvedev, a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 winner over two-time tournament winner Kei Nishikori.

  • Nadal had never before lost a Barcelona semi-final.

Dominic Thiem saved three break points in the final game to deliver a 6-4, 6-4 upset of 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and reach the final of the Barcelona Open on Saturday.

The Austrian, who lost the Roland Garros final to the Spanish great last year, denied Nadal the opportunity to become the first man to capture the same ATP title 12 times.

"I'm happy with how I played, I was competitive for the first time (in a few matches)," Nadal insisted.

Barcelona Open Rafael Nadals worries pile up as Dominic Thiem stuns 11time champion Daniil Medvedev also in final

File image of Rafael Nadal. REUTERS

Thiem will on Sunday face Daniil Medvedev, a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 winner over two-time tournament winner Kei Nishikori.

"Things were positive even if I lost. Congrats to him, he's a great guy and a great player," added top seed Nadal who was a semi-final loser last week to Fabio Fognini in Monte Carlo where he was also an 11-time champion.

"Today I played at a good level, it was a great improvement on last week, when I was not competitive at all.

"I enjoyed the match, I'm feeling the way I want to feel about my game. I'm happy and I'm confident."

Third-seeded Thiem took revenge for not only his 2018 French Open final loss to Nadal but also avenged losing the 2017 Barcelona title match to the 32-year-old Spaniard.

Nadal had never before lost a Barcelona semi-final.

Thiem joins Novak Djokovic as the only player to have defeated Nadal four times on clay after Buenos Aires in 2016, Rome in 2017 and last year in the Madrid quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Nishikori had reached the final of the Catalan clay-court event three times, winning in 2014 and 2015 but losing the 2016 final to Nadal.

"He played very aggressive and was better today on the clay," Nishikori said after his loss to Medvedev. "It was a close match, he played well at the right moments."

The players exchanged breaks in the third set before the seventh-seeded Medvedev seized the first match point to break in the 12th game.

Nishikori had defeated Medvedev in January's Brisbane final, a success which ended a 51-tournament title drought for the Japanese ace.

In spite of defeat, Nishikori remained pleased with his progress on clay ahead of upcoming Masters events in Madrid and Rome.

"I'm happy with how I'm playing. Even today, I played well," he said.

"I've got my confidence back again on clay. It was important for me to do well this week. I want to be ready for the next big events."

Medvedev, who shook some salt into his mouth during a third-set changeover just to spark his tiring muscles — apparently not for cramping — said his game remained in top gear.

"I felt ahead of him mentally in the final set. That is how I managed to break at 6-5," said Medvedev.

"This match shows I'm able to play well on clay against the top 10 guys. I'm feeling strong physically and mentally.

"I'm very happy to win, this gives me big confidence and shows I can do a lot."

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Alexander Zverev hires David Ferrer as coach for 'trial period', says could not be more excited to work with Spaniard
Sports

Alexander Zverev hires David Ferrer as coach for 'trial period', says could not be more excited to work with Spaniard

Zverev made the announcement on social networking platform Instagram, adding that he “could not be more excited to get to work” after teaming up for a “trial period” with 2013 French Open finalist Ferrer.

French Open to allow up to 60 percent of seats to be filled for 2020 edition, say organisers
Sports

French Open to allow up to 60 percent of seats to be filled for 2020 edition, say organisers

While a maximum of four spectators will be able to sit together on the main courts with an empty seat between two groups, the other courts will have an empty seat between two individuals.

'Protocols are in place for reason', Wimbledon chief expresses disappointment over botched Adria Tour
Sports

'Protocols are in place for reason', Wimbledon chief expresses disappointment over botched Adria Tour

Wimbledon chief said, 'The images were disappointing and I think that ... what needs to come out of it is everybody involved — not just players, but administrators, organisers, entourages — understands that the protocols, rules and regulations are in place for a reason.'