Federer to again top men's tennis world rankings

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"His bounces and top spin are very high and hard to control", Nadal said.

"You can not be No 1 five months without competing", Nadal said. "To beat Rafa on clay you have to have a special day". "I think I did it pretty well". "This is unbelievable. So I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did", said Thiem. I really wanted to break through and be in the semi-finals.

"I am playing against one of the best players of the world. This is the reality of this year", the Spaniard explained.

"This year till now I had only one or two tournaments that I had played". I don't think it's that way.

"Of course, I knew the opportunity existed today". After that, things we can not see in the future.

"I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did", Thiem assessed. "That's what I'm working on", Nadal said, as quoted by ATP's official website. "I found I was very happy with how I played from the baseline, returning serving, so all in all it was a good performance".

Too often against the "Big Four" - particularly Federer and Nadal - there's a sense that losing but playing well is some sort of achievement. "The differences are very small".

Because of the defeat Rafael Nadal will lose the title of the first racket of the world (last season he won Madrid).

Nadal said on Thursday, after breaking John McEnroe's 1984 record for sets won on the same surface by winning his 50th straight set on clay, that he expected the match against Thiem to be "key to this tournament".

Thiem was untouchable behind his first serve and he saved all three break points he faced in the 10th game of the opening set to keep his serve intact and mount the pressure on the other side of the net.

After a couple of double-faults in the third service game, Nadal found himself down 15-40.

Nadal remained undefeated on the clay court since his defeat to Thiem at Rome Masters quarters in May 2017.

"I believe a lot in dynamics, in momentum", Nadal said.

"Well, three weeks ago I beat him 6-0 6-3". Like this I should go in every match against him.

"Hopefully I can go even further".

Kevin Anderson is coming off a straight sets win over Dusan Lajovic that took 31 games to decide.

Isner prevailed 6-7 (9), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in 2 hours, 21 minutes.

Shapovalov, 19, ranked at 43 in the world, fired 29 winners past Edmund, a surprise semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January. A year ago I made it to the finals in every single tournament.

Bertens, meanwhile, will now face France's Caroline Garcia, who eased past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3.