Tennis

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Dominic Thiem hits brilliant backhand winner on way to victory over Nadal

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Rafael Nadal's stunning run on the clay in 2017 has finally come to an end.

After 17 straight wins on the surface, Dominic Thiem produced a brilliant performance on Friday afternoon to knock the Spaniard out of the Italian Open in Rome.

Less than a week after Nadal beat Thiem in the Madrid Open final, the Austrian was able to get revenge with a sweet 6-4 6-3 victory.

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Nadal, who also beat the world number 7 in the final of the Barcelona Open at the end of April, made a surprisingly slow start to proceedings and slipped 5-1 behind in the first set.

Although the 30-year-old picked up the next three games, he was unable to salvage the set.

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And just when Nadal was starting to alter the momentum of the match, Thiem picked up the crucial break of serve.

One particular point summed up Nadal's afternoon as a stunning backhand winner from Thiem effectively proved to be the turning point.

As you can see by watching the video below, Nadal looked in control of the point with a well-timed drop shot, only for his 23-year-old opponent to respond with one of his own.

The Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2017 - Day Six

Thiem was then forced back to the baseline but somehow still pulled out a fantastic cross-court backhand winner - which looks better every time you watch it.

Nadal made a half-effort to reach it he must have known as soon as Thiem made contact that there was little chance of him actually getting to the ball.

Despite his recent losses to Nadal, the Austrian star has every right to be feeling confident about his chances at the French Open, with Rolland Garros only weeks away.

But before that, he will be focusing on Saturday's semi-final in Rome, where he could face Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro for a spot in the final.

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Topics:
Tennis
Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic
French Open
Andy Murray

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