Dominic Thiem made a statement on Friday as he beat Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 in the quarter-final of the Rome Masters.
Thiem, whom Nadal defeated last Sunday to win a fifth Madrid title had supposedly learned his lesson, as he became the first man to beat Nadal on clay in 2017.
Nadal’s record on clay now reads 17-1 and Thiem becomes the first Austrian to reach the semi-final of the Rome Masters since 1996 after compatriot, Thomas Muster, who then went on to beat Richard Krajicek.
With his booming forehands, Thiem raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set and even though Nadal fought back to 5-4, the 23-year-old held on to win 6-4.
The second set went with serve until the seventh game when Thiem broke and raced to the end 6-3.