Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a shot in the final of the Madrid Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 14, 2017. He also beat Thiem in the Barcelona final in a much more lopsided contest.
The Spaniard, who is now 15-0 on clay this year, pressed home his advantage with a break in the very first game of the second set, and that proved to be the decisive moment.
After already claiming his 10th title at Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, this time it's winning Madrid for the fifth time, his fourth in the nine years since the event moved from indoor hardcourts to clay in 2009.
Rome, where the Spaniard is a seven-time champion, beckons. Seemingly in control with a triple-set point as Thiem served at 4-5, Nadal had his momentum stopped by the courageous shotmaking of Thiem.
Nadal claimed the first set against Thiem after a lengthy tiebreak which finished 10-8. He was broken three consecutive times in the first set, and once in the second to give Coric a 5-3 lead that the young Croatian converted to close out the match. "I started the match OK, but when I started to go behind I didn't find any way to improve my game or to make it more hard for him".
"All in all, I did try my best". Bet: the victory of Rafael Nadal with a -4 for the game.
The Spaniard needed nearly two-and-a-half hours to battle past the world number nine, but he eventually triumphed 7-6  6-4 to pick up his third consecutive title.
And, having set up a fourth match point, the 30-year-old steered a backhand volley away for a victor, before sinking to his knees in delight.
"This is a very emotional period of the season", Nadal told reporters. I try to compete. He stormed his way through Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and aside from a tough first round in Madrid, he dominated his way through there as well. I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome.
Nastase has been banned from the French Open and Wimbledon after he was ejected from Romania's Fed Cup clash with Great Britain last month for a series of foul-mouthed rants directed at British captain Anne Keothavong and No. 1 Johanna Konta, as well as umpires and members of the press. Im very happy for what I achieved, Nadal said. "I felt like I was playing well throughout the week". Because I'm not walking perfectly doesn't mean I have an injury. But, again, I just had an opponent that was too good. I'm 31 years old.
"I can not promise to play or pull out right now, " he said. The clear favorite for Roland Garros and having accomplished all of his immediate goals, the question now becomes if Nadal, at nearly 31, even plays Rome or elects to rest. I'm going to enjoy the next hours, then I'll think about Rome.
Nadal has now equalled Novak Djokovic's record of most Masters 1000 titles won, having picked up his 30th crown at that level on Sunday.
In studying Nadal's movement in completing a first win over Djokovic since 2014, it is wiser that Federer opted for hibernation rather than over-extend his ambition.
In their thirst for perfection, Nadal and Federer prove that time can not cull class. If Nadal were to prevail in the Italian Open next week, he will set a new record with 31 ATP Masters 1000 titles.