It has been an unusual clay-court campaign for 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who has lost three consecutive semifinals. Novak Djokovic, who had been struggling since winning his 15th Grand Slam in January, suddenly came alive in Madrid. On the women’s side, Kiki Bertens quietly emerged as the last woman standing.
The Under-the-Rader Champ
Bertens won the title without dropping a set, routing No. 2-seeded Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals and French Open finalist Sloane Stephens in the semifinal, before taking out two-time Madrid champion Simona Halep in the final.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal
The 20-year-old Greek avenged his Australian Open semifinal loss to Nadal by handing the Spaniard his third 2019 clay-court defeat—all three loses have come in the semifinals.
Dominic Thiem Conquer Federer, Once Again
The Barcelona champion clawed his way back from a first-set down to post his second consecutive win against Roger Federer, in the quarterfinals. He took out the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the Indian Wells final for the biggest title of his career.
Djokovic Rediscovers His Form
The 15-time Grand Slam champion, who had not reached a semifinal match since claiming the Australian Open in January, topped Thiem for his third Madrid trophy and 33rd Masters 1000 to tie Nadal for most ATP Masters won.
Nadal's Clay Slump Continues
After winning his 11th Monte Carlo, 11th Barcelona, eighth Rome, and 11th French Open in 2018, the King of Clay is experiencing a letdown, which is only normal. He still has Rome and the French Open to right his ship.
"You just have to accept it and I have to accept it naturally. But to accept things does not mean to try to change things," Nadal said after his defeat.