Rafael Nadal loses his world No 1 ranking in Madrid

Nadal had set a record of winning 50 consecutive sets on a single surface before defeat

 Rafael Nadal during his match against Dominic Thiem at the Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal during his match against Dominic Thiem at the Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

 

Rafael Nadal has lost his world No 1 ranking after suffering a quarter-final defeat by Austria’s Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Masters. Thiem, who lost to Nadal in the Monte Carlo quarter-finals last month, was the last player to beat the Spaniard on clay – at last year’s Rome Masters – and he prevailed in the Spanish capital on Friday, winning 7-5, 6-3.

Nadal had set a record of winning 50 consecutive sets on a single surface by beating the Argentinian Diego Schwartzman on Thursday but he was undone by Thiem, who broke the 31-year-old’s serve five times before sealing victory with a powerful cross-court winner in just under two hours. The 24-year-old, seeded fifth, will now face the South African Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals on Saturday. “I haven’t been good enough today,” Nadal said. “Some days you don’t play as good as you would like to play. Also when that happens it’s because your opponent is doing really well.”

Roger Federer, who is sitting out the clay-court season, will return to world No 1 on Monday but Nadal could regain top spot with a win at the Rome Masters, which begins on Sunday.

Kyle Edmund’s run at the Madrid Open also came to an end at the quarter-final stage after he was beaten by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.

The British No1 saved a match point at the end of a feisty second set which also involved an incident in which he was distracted by a spectator. But Edmund could not hold off his 19-year-old opponent who broke early in the third and served well to triumph 7-5, 6-7, 6-4.

Edmund will take heart from his week, though, especially his memorable win over Novak Djokovic in the earlier rounds.

On the women’s side of the draw, Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands continued her sparkling week, securing a place in the final with an emphatic 6-2, 6-2 victory over France’s Caroline Garcia.

The unseeded world No 20 blasted her way past Garcia, the seventh seed, in just over an hour, breaking serve four times and never surrendering a break point to move within sight of her second singles title of the year.

The 26-year-old had taken some big scalps already in Madrid, defeating Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals on Thursday, the day after knocking out the world No 2 and Australian Open champion, Caroline Wozniacki.

“I’m really happy with the way I played. I think it was maybe not great tennis, what people want to see with a lot of winners, but Caroline is a great player,” Bertens said. “Garcia likes when the ball comes from the hip so I was just trying to play as many different balls as I could. I think I did it pretty well.”

“She played very well, she used the high ball very well,” said Garcia, of Bertens. “I couldn’t do anything about it.

“Of course, I’m frustrated. My performance today was not great. But she had a game plan and it worked well.”

Bertens will face a tough examination in Saturday’s final against Petra Kvitova after she beat her Czech compatriot Karolina Pliskova 7-6, 6-3 in Friday’s second semi-final. The victory was Kvitova’s 10th in succession and moves her one step closer to a second successive title after her triumph at last week’s Prague Open.

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