Five-time Madrid champion Nadal was below his best, hitting 29 unforced errors in the two sets, but Thiem produced a fine performance. BBC Sport
Still the best
By Roger Childs
Rafael Nadal is the greatest tennis player of all time, on the clay surface. So far this year he has won clay tournaments in Monte Caro and Barcelona, each for an incredible eleventh time!
Going into the quarter finals in the capital of his beloved Spain, he had an unbeaten run of 21 victories. But even the best are beatable. World number 7, Austrian Dominic Thiem, upset the champion 7-5, 6-3. (Nadal beat Thiem in the final last year.)
This is probably a minor blip, and Rafa will bounce back. He is odds on favourite to win his eleventh grand slam on the orange dust at Roland Garros in Paris.
Nadal in great from this year
In both the Monte Carlo and Barcelona events, Nadal didn’t drop a set, and in the latter final beat Greek teenager, Stephanos Tsitipas 6-2, 6-3.
Rafa is a great role model for both his court demeanour and how to play on clay. Tsitipas observed It’s been impossible for me to stop Nadal. I’ve tried but I could not; it’s been a great lesson.
The great man is disappointed to have lost in the quarters in front of his adoring Spanish fans, however it will give him a break before the next tournament in Rome.
Not in Madrid but back to number one!
Roger Federer has now displaced Rafael Nadal as world number one. How come, because the Swiss maestro is not playing the clay season?
The ATP ranking points in tennis are based on the last 52 weeks performances in tournaments which carry points. However, you basically need a university degree to understand how it works.
If you win a grand slam for example, and didn’t play in it last year, you get 2000 points. If you won it last year and get knocked out in the second round, or in any round up to the semi-finals, you lose points.
Basically you are defending the points you’ve gained in the previous 52 weeks. Federer went to number one ahead of Nadal, after winning the Australian Open, which he won last year.
But Nadal regained the top spot after Federer was the beaten finalist at Indian Wells. (He had won last year.)
This was in spite of the fact that Nadal didn’t play in the tournament!
Federer returns to number one because Nadal won in Madrid last year, but has just lost in the quarter finals in 2018. So he has lost some points.
Confused? Join the club!
Still the King of Clay
In the semi-finals in the Spanish capital Dominic Thiem with play big serving South African Kevin Anderson, while in the battle of the youngsters, 21 year old Alexander Zverev will taken on Canadian Denis Shapavalov who is 18.
However, Rafa remains the king. He lost in Rome to Zverev last year, but then went on to win the Roland Garros grand slam. Expect the Spanish master to triumph again on the clay in Paris.
He owns the tournament having won 10 of the last 13 titles!