The top seed and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain will play a familiar foe in the shape of the number three seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in the semi-finals of the ATP Barcelona Open on Saturday, April 27. The match will begin at 4.30 pm local time (3.30 pm BST) and you can find the Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem live streaming options here.
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Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem Head to Head
The pair have played each other no less than eleven times before, with Nadal leading their head-to-head series by eight matches to three. Significantly, all but one of those matches were played on clay, the one exception being the US Open last year when Nadal won.
Memorably last year it was Thiem at the Madrid Masters who broke Nadal’s 21-match winning run on clay, but the Spaniard got his revenge in the best possible way a few weeks later, as he beat the Austrian to claim his 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
Nadal, Is the Era of Dominance Coming to an End?
Nadal has been the “King of Clay” for more than a decade, virtually impregnable on his favourite surface. Yet there have been a few signs this season that his old dominance is under threat.
First came his shock defeat to Fabio Fognini in the semi-final in Monte-Carlo last week, and, then, in his second round match here against Leonardo Mayer, he was forced to come from a set down to beat the Argentine. It was the first time in four years he had even dropped a set in this event.
Still suggestions as to his demise may be premature. He produced a much better performance to beat veteran David Ferrer on Thursday, and then kept Jan-Lennard Struff at bay in Friday’s quarter-final. He may not be firing on all cylinders, but he is still odds-on favourite to claim his 12th Barcelona crown on Sunday.
Thiem, A Big Obstacle to Overcome
If Nadal though is to claim that 12th title, he has got to get past Thiem first, and that will be no easy task. Whilst his overall record against Nadal is not strong, it is actually stronger than most other players, especially on clay. He knows he can beat Nadal even on his favourite surface because he has done it several times before.
His progress this week has been relatively serene – Diego Schwartman, Jaume Munar, and Guido Pella all beaten in straight sets. He knows that, if he does beat Nadal, he has an excellent chance of adding the Barcelona Open to the Indian Wells title he won last month.
Yes, that win in Indian Wells was a shocker given the surface, hard court, isn’t quite up Thiem’s fondness and with clay being his favourite surface, he might be able to dream of something big.
Nadal v Thiem Predictions & Tips
Nadal continues to be the odds-on favourite to win not only this match but the tournament. This makes Thiem the underdog in this match, but not by much. The King of Clay finds his reign under threat, and, against one man who could de-throne him, he will need to step-up his game a notch further.
Tip: Nadal to win in three sets: 4/1 (888Sport)