Rafael Nadal overcame a spirited effort from Dominic Thiem to win his 30th Masters 1000 title in Madrid.
The Spaniard edged a punishing first set tie-break, sapping the energy out of his opponent, before wrapping up a 7-6(8) 6-4 victory.
It stretched Nadal’s imperious run on clay to 15 unanswered wins and three titles in 2017, installing him as the firm favourite for the French Open.
15 straight wins ✔️
5th Madrid title ✔️
30th Masters crown ✔️ pic.twitter.com/uw46TslYSM
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 14, 2017
Thiem can take great heart from his performance, which was a vast improvement from his Barcelona Open defeat to Nadal, with the Austrian keeping the 14-time Grand Slam winner concerned throughout with some brutal baseline hitting.
However, the 23-year-old could muster just one break of serve – early in the first set – as he fell just short, blowing four break points in a tense final game.
The French Open at Roland Garros begins on May 28.