Novak Djokovic claims Madrid title with straight-sets win over Tsitsipas

Rafael Nadal- Rafael Nadal still pulling in the Spanish fans as ‘big three’ battle for title

Nadal has not arrived in Madrid without winning in either Monte Carlo or Barcelona since 2015 and, after also pulling out of Indian Wells due to a knee injury in March, concern was growing ahead of the French Open later this month.

"I'm very pleased", Djokovic said. So, he was in form.

Tsitsipas, who beat Djokovic in their previous meeting last summer in Canada, was broken once in each set, enough of a margin for the top seed to take the trophy, his second of the season after the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic declared himself ready for the challenge of once again beating Rafael Nadal on clay after he defeated Dominic Thiem on Saturday to reach the Madrid Open final.

"I thought he was the favourite coming into this match because of his win in Barcelona and the way he played winning against Roger yesterday", said Djokovic, who will be trying to add to his Madrid titles from 2011 and 2016.

But Thiem found the 31-year-old close to his best, delivering a timely reminder of why he has won the last three Grand Slam titles and will hold all four concurrently by winning his 16th at the French Open.

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Tsitsipas twice lost his serve in the opening set, but broke Nadal three times on his way to edging it after 58 minutes. I have seen plenty of his matches, but I'm going to try to adapt to the way he is playing on clay as fast as I can because I'm pretty sure he is not easy on clay, as on hard.

Rafael Nadal suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas, of Greece, in the semi-final of the Madrid Open last night.

He won 27 singles titles, reaching a career-high ranking of third in the world in 2013, when he also reached his only Grand Slam final, losing the French Open showpiece to Nadal. He had beaten Djokovic in Toronto past year in the first meeting between the two players.

He had not dropped a service game all week in Madrid and raced into a 3-0 lead as he broke his opponent's first service game under blue skies and soaring temperatures in the Spanish capital, with his trademark backhand down the line causing Tsitsipas problems throughout.

He now faces Novak Djokovic in the final. "Each week that I play in this tournament is a lot of memories, a lot of unforgettable memories", he said.

"I think everything went very well for me today", said Halep, a two-time champion in Madrid.

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