Rafael Nadal’s perfect 2018 clay-court season gets a significant test at Caja Magica on Friday when he takes on Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open quarterfinals. Here’s everything you need to know to watch if you’re in the United States:
Nadal vs. Thiem: Viewing Information
Note this information is for those who are in the United States
Date: Friday, May 11, 2018
Start Time: approximately 11 a.m. ET
TV Channel: Tennis Channel
Live Stream: DirecTV Now. While there are four different channel packages to choose from, the Tennis Channel is included in the “Just Right”, “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what bundle you choose, and you can then watch the match live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Nadal vs. Thiem: Preview
Nadal has long been known as the King of Clay, but at this point, I have a quick question: Is there something better than King? Because that might be what Nadal is on clay right now.
In his last 19 matches on the surface, Rafa has won every single set and lost an average of less than five games per match. If you want to find the last time he’s lost a set and a match on clay, you have to go back to the 2017 Italian Open almost a year ago.
The man who beat Nadal on that day? That would be Dominic Thiem, who believes the chances of Nadal losing during the clay swing are slightly higher in Madrid and Rome.
“It’s one of the most difficult things in the sport to do that but on a good day for some players, I think it’s possible,” Thiem said of beating the King of Clay on clay. “Especially here in Madrid and in Rome. I think the chances are the highest, out of all the clay-court tournaments, I think here and in Rome, it’s the most difficult for him. Of course, he’s still playing amazing also in these tournaments but for the other players, it’s getting a little bit easier because it’s faster and there’s a higher bounce.”
Nadal has twice gotten his revenge since Thiem’s triumph last year, disposing of the young Austrian in straight sets at the 2017 French Open (6-3, 6-4, 6-0) and the Monte Carlo Masters (6-0, 6-2) a few weeks ago. He also beat Thiem in the final here at Caja Magica a year ago, though that was a bit more difficult at 7-6(8), 6-4.
Nadal is 6-2 in his career against Thiem, with every one of those matches coming on clay, but as Thiem alluded to, the biggest tests for the Spaniard in this head-to-head matchup have certainly come in Madrid and Rome. He’s still undoubtedly expected to advance with the near flawless way he’s playing at the moment, but this is nevertheless a finals-quality matchup in the quarterfinals.
Source: Heavy Sports