Nadal surrenders world number one to Federer as Thiem ends clay run

Dominic Thiem inflicted Rafael Nadal's first defeat on clay since the Austrian's victory over him in Rome last year to reach the semi-finals of the Madrid Open, meaning Roger Federer will return to world number one.

Nadal went into Friday's contest having won 50 successive sets on the red dirt since his loss to Thiem at the Internazionali d'Italia last May.

But that remarkable streak was brought to a close as Nadal surrendered the opener, and Thiem refused to let the momentum slip as he delivered a stirring second-set showing to win 7-5 6-3.

Last month's quarter-finals in Monte Carlo had seen Nadal demolish Thiem 6-0 6-2, but the world number seven was inspired on this occasion.

Federer will therefore move back to the top of the rankings, despite taking the clay-court season off, but of more consequence is a performance from Thiem that suggests Nadal may have a genuine rival at the French Open.

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