Djokovic back to best against Thiem to reach Madrid final

Novak Djokovic in action against Jeremy Chardy in the Madrid Open third round

He was joined in the last eight by five-times Madrid champion Rafael Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic. "I thought he was the favorite coming into this match because of his win in Barcelona and the way he played winning against Roger yesterday".

He skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season. The Madrid Open is his first clay tournament as he prepares to return to the French Open after a three-year absence.

Halep, now number three in the world, will reclaim the number one ranking should she win her third title at the Caja Magica. They are the same height, they are both right handed with single handed backhands and they've both won 2 titles so far this season.

Novak Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem to reach the Madrid Open final for the third time.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep closed in on a return to the top of the world rankings after beating Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-0 to advance to the women's final.

She overcame the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships victor 6-2, 6-7, 6-0 and she will face either Sloane Stephens or Kiki Bertens in Saturday's final.

The other semifinal will be played between Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens, last year's runner-up.

Thiem got off to a good start by breaking Djokovic in the third game of the match, but the Serb quickly got back on serve and then cruised in the opening tiebreaker, dropping only two points.

Thiem saved two match points in a thrilling second set against Federer. Federer got back on serve at 4-4, but started his next game 0-40 and couldn't recover.

Djokovic had been given a walkover after his scheduled quarter-final opponent Marin Cilic withdrew after suffering from food poisoning. "But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it's all good".

"Roger is playing really well on clay so I am really happy". One match was in an exhibition, which doesn't really count, while three wins were when Thiem wasn't a top 10 regular, and Thiem has actually taken both of their last competitive matches, on the clay of Roland Garros in 2017, and previous year on the same surface in Monte Carlo.