Yes fans, it is today.
Italian open at 7:30 pm
Nadal has maintained his unbeaten run on clay in the season by winning 6-3 6-4 to set a quarter-final clash with Dominic Thiem and a place in the semifinals at the Foro Italico is at stake.
The year 2017 has been great for Nadal. The 14 time Grand Slam winner has reached 6 finals in this year. He is now on a 17 match winning streak and he is on the verge of a place in the quarterfinal and plays Dominic Thiem today.
Both players must be thinking that how well they have played so as to meet for the 3rd consecutive tournament though Nadal beat Thiem in both finals in Madrid and Barcelona.
Thiem won his 1st title this year in Rio by defeating Pablo Carreno Busta in the final. He has performed well on the red clay & has reached back to back finals also.
Nadal’s route to the quarterfinals
The 7 time champion received a bye in the opening round & had a tough 2nd round encounter with compatriot Nicolas Almagro.
Nicolas had injured his knee in the opening set & retired at 3-0 down. Nadal would not be happy at the injury but will be vary that the compatriot will have got good rest and conserved energy throughout the tournament.
Nadal got tested a few times vs Sock in his last match in the 3rd round. It surely got interesting as both rallied long and hitting the ball well.
Thiem’s route to the quarterfinals
Thiem too would have also welcomed a bye into the 2nd round as he has had to use a lot of energy in the past weeks. He had a tough 3rd round encounter with Sam Querrey. The American in Acapulco has defeated both Nadal & Thiem on his quest to the title.
The duo will be meeting for the 6th time & all of their previous 5 clashes have come on clay courts. Head to head, Nadal leads it 4-1. The Spaniard had defeated Thiem in his 1st meeting in the 2nd round of the French Open in the year 2014.6-2, 6-2, 6-3 was the scorecard & he went on to win his 9th French Open title.
Thiem in the next encounter won in the semifinals of the Buenos Aires in 2016. Score 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (4).
Nadal increased his lead over the Australian in the 3rd round in Monte Carlo last year, 7-5, 6-3 to win his 9th title in the principality. The former world number 1 also won their next 2 clashes both coming during this European clay court period in the year 2017.
Who reaches the semifinals?
Nadal is a hard customer given his current form. He is full of confidence and also playing on his favorite surface will keep his chances sky high.
Novak Djokovic is slowly getting back to his own best & the duo could meet in the semifinals for a 2nd consecutive week. Andy Murray the defending champion has struggled. Nadal says he is taking 1 game at a time and will play on merit. He will surely watch Thiem’s firing backhand.
His serves on the clay court season has been sublime & he will be looking to target the opponent’s forehand. The backhand of Thiem is stronger than his forehand but his forehand remains a deadly weapon. He will look to push Nadal to the baseline and snatch a few points. The 7 time champion at the Foro Italico has good movement on this surface. Another motivation for Nadal is that if he beats Thiem, he will return to number 3 in the world.
This will surely be a scintallating quarterfinal clash between the Mutua Madrid Open champion & finalist will be the 3rd match scheduled on Court Centrale. Both players must be feeling the fatigue. The fresher player will be Nadal given the 2 virtual byes along with him playing his best tennis right now.
Nadal in straight sets.
Nadal vs Thiem 2017, Nadal vs Thiem when, Nadal vs Thiem preview, Nadal vs Thiem prediction, Dominic Thiem vs Rafael Nadal Rome Masters Quarter Finals Live