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Germany's Zverev beats Canada's Shapovalov in Madrid Open semis

13 May 2018

You're talking about a guy who has given his opponents a combined one break point in his last four matches, and that one chance wasn't converted.

He beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets: 7-5, 6-3 ending the latter's terrific run at the clay court.

Thiem backed up his win over Nadal in confident style and on clay is definitely not to be counted out, but Zverev has the bug-match winning experience, and comes in definitely a little fresher, although hopefully this will be as hard fought as the WTA final on Satuday.

He returned to Tour action only in April, winning the Monte Carlo title for an 11th time before rolling through the draw in Barcelona for his 11th triumph there.

Fifth-seeded Thiem, the runner-up to Nadal in the 2017 Madrid final and still chasing a maiden Masters title, needed 85 minutes to dispose of his South African opponent, seeded sixth.

While Thiem admits the conditions in Madrid suit him perfectly - it is where he reached his first Masters 1000 final previous year - he also believes he produced exceptional tennis to overcome the King of Clay.

The key for Zverev will no doubt be a more aggressive stance, and to prevent Thiem from controlling the rallies and dictating where to send Zverev, which he did effectively with Nadal.

However, in their ninth career clash, Thiem put Nadal under pressure nearly from the start and broke for a 4-3 lead in the first set.

In the last two years, Dominic Thiem and his German language speaking counterpart from Germany, Alexander Zverev, were the heirs apparent in tennis.

Canada's Denis Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the Madrid semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 win over Britain's Kyle Edmund.

"I was keeping my level up from yesterday, so that was a great thing".

"It's one of the toughest things to do to beat Rafa on clay", Thiem said.

Thiem leads Zverev 4-1 in head-to-head meetings, having won all their three meetings on clay so far. There he brushed aside Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-1. 'Of course, it gave me a huge boost of confidence. "That's a very good result".

Zverev already has two Masters 1000 titles to his name, and his greater experience told in the ninth game.

Since last year's loss to Thiem, Nadal had been impeccable on his preferred surface. Thiem improved to 10-2 in Madrid and is seeking his first win since the Argentina Open in February. Thiem prevailed in all the three clay-court meetings, but that took place all in the first half of 2016, when Zverev wasn't a real top player yet.

"But I'm playing quite well; so is he". In this year, he increased his level dramatically.

Thiem obviously has the edge over Zverev based on the head to head history and the 3-0 record against him on clay.

Germany's Zverev beats Canada's Shapovalov in Madrid Open semis