ATP Madrid: Dominic Thiem saves two MP's to send Roger Federer packing

ATP Madrid: Dominic Thiem saves two MP's to send Roger Federer packing

However, the 25-year-old broke in the very next game before successfully serving out the match after two hours and 10 minutes of enthralling action.

Thiem opened a 6-4 advantage He trailed 3-0) when the roller coaster started to spin, with Roger wasting two match points at 8-7, and 10-9 and fending off five set points to stay locked up at 11-11 until Dominic blasted a return victor to close the breaker 13-11 and set a decider.

"I played with better rhythm and showed some positive things", said Nadal, who missed practice time earlier in the week because of a stomach virus.

Roger Federer did enough on his return to clay court tennis to suggest that he will not be turning up at Roland Garros later this month just for some lap of honour. It has to be said that the younger player raised his level after the opening set to stay on the level terms with Roger, converting only two out of 12 break points but finding the way to cross the finish line first and extend the winning streak on clay this spring.

A lucky volley, followed by a smash victor, kept Federer in the match.

It was the 1,200th career win for Federer, allowing him to join Jimmy Connors as the only male players to have reached the milestone in the Open Era.

Simona Halep is one match away from regaining the world No 1 position after she reached the women's final with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-0 victory over Switzerland's Belinda Bencic. However, he battled hard to bring a 4-1 deficit to 4-4 before completing a remarkable third set win thanks to a successful tie break where he kept his head while Monfils lost his.

Federer now has little time to recover to face arguably the second best clay courter in the game in Dominic Thiem who beat the Swiss to win Indian Wells.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, second-seeded Rafael Nadal and defending champion Alexander Zverev also advanced to the last eight on Thursday.

"I felt not so confident to win the point from the baseline", he said of his tactics on the match's major moments. Against Gael Monfils yesterday Federer was in real trouble having to save match points and come up with outstanding play simply to keep him in the tournament.

Austria's Thiem eventually came through 3-6 7-6 (13-11) 6-4 to set up a meeting with world number one Novak Djokovic. Wawrinka will be Nadal's opponent, while Tsitsipas will face Zverev, a three-set victor over Hubert Hurkacz.

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