Published: Tue, April 30, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Rafael Nadal beats Jan-Lennard Struff to reach Barcelona Open semifinals

Rafael Nadal beats Jan-Lennard Struff to reach Barcelona Open semifinals

In the final, Thiem will meet Daniil Medvedev who kept his great season going coming from a break down in the third to beat Kei Nishikori 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

The players exchanged breaks in the third set before the seventh-seeded Medvedev seized the first match point to break in the 12th game and win the baseline battle.

Dominic Thiem avenged his defeat by Rafael Nadal in last year's French Open final by knocking him out of the Barcelona Open in sensational fashion on Saturday.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts during the semi final tennis match against Italy's Fabio Fognini at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament on April 20, 2019 in Monaco.

In beating Nadal, world number five Thiem, 25, also denied the Mallorcan a chance of winning a fourth consecutive Barcelona Open title. He opened with a double fault, and then made a fourth on break point in the fifth game. Thiem has yet to lose a set this week, and he was in control early on against Nadal, putting pressure on the Spaniard's serve from the start. The Russian dropped the first service game when his off-balance shot was wide and responded by slamming his racket to the court and breaking it. "Starting the point in good position or in bad position, changed a lot. but the rest of the things have been positive and as I said before, congrats to him, he played great", Nadal said. Nishikori had a chance to break and serve for the match, but netted a return on break point, allowing Medvedev to go up 5-4. He won 12 of the last 13 games. He saw off David Ferrer in straight sets on Thursday. Medvedev held with an ace, 6-5, and produced a stunning backhand victor to bring up match-point.

Thiem was beaten by Nadal in last year's French Open final and took encouragement from this victory as the campaign builds towards Roland Garros. He broke back, 2-2, and although both men then had chances for a decisive break, it would go nearly to the distance.

Nadal avoided a first-set tiebreaker by pushing Struff into a 0-40 hole on his final service game. "That's my goal and I hope I can beat more players like this because that's when you improve, when you beat these top players".

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