Federer still pondering Rome entry after Madrid exit

Federer still pondering Rome entry after Madrid exit

Thiem's reward is a clash with Novak Djokovic at around 1500 United Kingdom time today, with the world number one not even needing to pick up his racquet in competitive action yesterday - opponent Marin Cilic withdrew through illness, giving Djokovic a walkover. "I thought he was the favorite coming into this match because of his win in Barcelona and the way he played winning against Roger yesterday".

Federer, playing his first clay tournament for three years, raced into a 4-1 lead inside 15 minutes as he broke the 220 kilometres-per-hour barrier with some powerful serving.

The fourth-seeded Federer skipped the clay swing the past two seasons to remain fit for the rest of the season. He chose to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.

The 37-year-old Federer was trying to win his third Madrid title, and first since 2012. They are the same height, they are both right handed with single handed backhands and they've both won 2 titles so far this season.

Thiem took that momentum on into the deciding set and finally broke Federer in the third game.

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On the women's side, Simona Halep made it back to the Madrid final for the first time since 2017 with a 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-0 win over unseeded Belinda Bencic.

The French Open champion can surpass Naomi Osaka for the No. 1 ranking if she wins Saturday's final.

Halep will play Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens, a finalist in Madrid a year ago, who defeated 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5. He sealed a comfortable victory in the opening set against Dominic Thiem and later played a thrilling second set which got extended into the tiebreaker. He didn't play his quarterfinal match because Marin Cilic withdrew with food poisoning.

"It was a good match for me, Stan is not an easy opponent regardless of the scoreline", said Nadal after his 14th quarter-final in the last 15 years in the Spanish capital. "But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it's all good". "Happy that I'm going to be fresh for my semifinal".

The world number one put in his best performance since winning the Australian Open to edge through a high class semi-final 7-6 7-6.

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