Roger Federer loses to Dominic Thiem in Madrid Open quarterfinals

Favourites advance to set up packed Madrid last eight

The top-seeded Serb is seeking a third Madrid Open title, and his second of the season after winning the Australian Open.

Thiem's reward is a clash with Novak Djokovic at around 1500 United Kingdom time today, with the world number one not even needing to pick up his racquet in competitive action yesterday - opponent Marin Cilic withdrew through illness, giving Djokovic a walkover.

World number one Djokovic and five-time victor Nadal each progressed in straight sets, seeing off Jeremy Chardy and Frances Tiafoe respectively. He awaits the victor of Saturday's second match between Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

"It was a good match for me, Stan is not an easy opponent regardless of the scoreline", said Nadal after his 14th quarter-final in the last 15 years in the Spanish capital. "He's one of the best players in the world", said Rafa.

Federer said he was happy to have made his clay court comeback.

On his current level, the 25-year-old added: "If I see my results on clay the last years, they are very, very good". I thought I had some good matches here, you know, especially last two.

Federer now has the option to take up a wild card being held for him next week in Rome.

Roger Federer, from Switzerland, returns the ball to Gael Monfils, from France, during the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Djokovic, victor in Madrid in 2011 and 2016, was fully rested after his quarter-final opponent Marin Cilic had withdrawn because of food poisoning, while Thiem had to dig deep to beat Roger Federer in a gruelling three-setter.

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"I was playing Novak last year and two years ago and he was not at his best I guess, and now he is again", Thiem said. This season's clay data (Djokovic's small sample size noted) also gives him a slight advantage, so it's hard to make a case for either player at prices.

I anticipate the match to be very competitive, and the market does too, chalking up Djokovic as a marginal [1.90] favourite.

The Serbian won the first tiebreak comfortably after some poor shot selections from Thiem but was in trouble in the second set when he trailed 4-2.

Thiem broke early in the decider, but Federer responded in typical fashion to make it 4-4.

Monfils was up 4-1 but lost the lead as Federer brought it back to 4-4.

Federer bageled Monfils 6-0 in the first set, lost his momentum in the second, and looked like he was down and nearly out in the third.

Halep will play Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens, a finalist in Madrid past year, who defeated 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5.

"It's such a nice feeling to be back in the final here". I was pretty far from that until now but it's time to improve.

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