Novak Djokovic beats Dominic Thiem, semi-finals

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

He has looked somewhat vulnerable since hammering Nadal to win in Australia, but with two weeks to go before the French Open seems to be zoning in perfectly for the attempt to win a fourth straight Grand Slam.

Djokovic enhanced his credentials as perhaps the greatest threat by edging past Thiem, who took down Nadal en route to clinching the trophy in Barcelona last month and had also knocked out Federer in the Madrid quarter-finals.

But, as well as Federer and Nadal, Tsitsipas has now beaten Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, both twice, and Djokovic, whom he played on hard in Canada a year ago and prevailed in three sets.

Yet Nadal, the 11-time French Open victor, was philosophical: "What happened tonight is what happens in real life".

"After Indian Wells, I had a big mental drop", Nadal said. It has been more than a year since he won his debut ATP title at Delray Beach last year, and his most significant achievement since then has been that run to the quarter final in Melbourne.

"Now I am feeling better in matches and I think every one gives me the chance to get better". "He has that drive and energy, and it will be a good test for me and an opportunity for me to play a tough match and to keep improving".

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But if Nadal overcomes the talented Stefanos Tsitsipas later on Saturday, it will be the Spaniard and Djokovic in Sunday's final, in what could prove a dress rehearsal for the title match at Roland Garros too. She had victories over three Grand Slam champions in the Spanish capital - Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova.

The young Greek is through to his second Masters 1000 final (Nadal ousted him in Toronto last summer) after a grueling battle and two hours and 34 minutes, winning six points less than Rafa and saving 11 out of 16 break points to stay alive against the mighty opponent.

Austrian Thiem, the runner-up in the previous two Madrid finals, led by a break in both sets but world number one Djokovic fought back to win.

Romania's third seed and former world No. 1 will next play the victor of the Naomi Osaka- Belinda Bencic match. Don't believe? Check out the latter's reaction after nullifying a break point at 1-2 in the second set.

"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.

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