For the third straight time this season, Rafael Nadal won’t be fighting for a title on his favorite surface. Nadal’s slump on clay continued on Saturday at the Madrid Open with a third consecutive semifinal elimination, adding to his worst start to the clay-court swing since 2015.

He lost to ninth-ranked Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will try to win his third title of the year in a final against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) and will have a chance to tie Nadal for the most titles in Master 1000 tournaments with 33.

 

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