TENNIS: Rafael Nadal broke a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic to book a berth in the final of the Madrid Masters.
Looking in ominous form ahead of the French Open, which starts in two weeks, Nadal will look to secure his fifth title in Madrid in the final against Austrian Dominic Thiem tonight (2am AEST) after defeating Djokovic 6-2 6-4.
His record on clay this season remains perfect - 14-0.
It was Nadal's 50th meeting against Djokovic, but their first since Rome a year ago.
Djokovic had won his last 15 sets stretching back to the 2014 French Open final against the 14-time grand slam champion.
"It is a great result. To win against Novak by that score you have to be playing very well,,” said Nadal.
"It was an important match for me. I lost a lot of times in a row. To break that means there are always nerves.
"The circumstances nowadays are completely different compared to those seven matches that occurred before.
"I think that the last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years. For Novak, they were really good years.”
Meanwhile, Simona Halep thanked under-fire Romanian great Ilie Nastase after defending her Madrid Open title by beating Kristina Mladenovic in the final.
The Romanian, who rises to fourth in the world rankings, was congratulated on court by the controversial Nastase as she received the trophy.
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 world No.1 Johanna Konta.
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