BC-TEN--Madrid Open,3rd Ld
MADRID (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s slump on clay continued with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 loss to ninth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the semifinals of the Madrid Open on Saturday.
It was the third straight semifinal elimination for Nadal, adding to his worst start to the clay swing since 2015.
Tsitsipas 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.
In the women’s final, Kiki Bertens beat two-time Madrid champion Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal, still seeking his first title of the season, had also failed to make it to the final in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, tournaments he had won the last three consecutive seasons.
The 20-year-old Tsitsipas converted on his fourth match point to close out the victory against the second-ranked Nadal on the Magic Box center court.
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