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Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his fifth Mutua Madrid Open title.

5 Things We Learned At The 2017 Mutua Madrid Open

We look into storylines that emerged during the season's second clay-court Masters 1000 event. 

Nadal Is Appearing Untouchable

Can anyone stop Rafael Nadal? The Spaniard picked up his fifth Mutua Madrid Open title and moved to 15-0 on the red dirt this year after prevailing in an epic final over Dominic Thiem. The victory also gives Nadal his 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, tying Novak Djokovic for the all-time lead.

But what stands out most is Nadal’s dominance in recording these wins. The Spaniard has won 30 of 32 sets he’s played on clay this year and recorded straight-sets wins against everyone he’s faced inside the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Major roadblocks including Djokovic, Thiem and David Goffin were swiftly brushed aside.

Currently at the top of the Emirates ATP Race to London, which tallies all the race points accumulated beginning Jan. 1 of this year, he is now an overwhelming favourite heading into the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Although Nadal isn’t unbeatable, it will take a brilliant performance to defeat him if he continues to play at this level.

Thiem Making Push For Top 5

The 23-year-old Austrian reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Madrid and showed it certainly won’t be his last by giving Nadal all he could handle in the final. Thiem has been in outstanding form on clay this year, winning in Rio de Janeiro (d. Carreno Busta) and finishing runner-up in Barcelona (l. Nadal).

Thiem’s superior fitness means a heavy match schedule – Madrid is his 12th tournament of 2017 – won’t slow him down heading into Rome and Roland Garros. Currently third in the Emirates ATP Race to London, he looks poised to pick up plenty of points over the next few weeks.

Goffin Continues Racking Up Top 10 Wins

David Goffin has never shown fear when competing against the world’s best, but has been especially impressive in scoring scalps on clay. En route to a quarter-final showing in Madrid, the Belgian defeated Milos Raonic in the third round for his fourth Top 10 win of the season. Three of those have come on the dirt, including over Djokovic and Thiem at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Goffin is now 8-3 on clay, with two of those losses coming to Nadal. No less of an authority that Nadal praised Goffin as someone who can eventually become World No. 1, and the 26 year old is showing that he will continue to use his arsenal to its fullest potential.

The #NextGenATP Players Are Coming

#NextGenATP players Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric put together impressive performances in Madrid to reach the quarter-finals. Zverev ousted Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych en route to the last eight. Coric, a lucky loser who only entered the main draw after Richard Gasquet withdrew, defeated World No. 1 Andy Murray in the third round.

Zverev and Coric are the top two players in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, which will determine who qualifies for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan from 7-11 November. Both men hold sizable leads over their peers in the race and will only continue to add to that gap with their current form.

Kubot/Melo Are Hottest Team On Tour

In their first year competing full-time as a team, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo picked up their second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title of the season in Madrid by defeating Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Kubot/Melo also won in Miami (d. Monroe/Sock) and finished runner-up in Indian Wells (l. Klaasen/Ram).

Their win in Madrid also puts them past Henri Kontinen and John Peers for the top spot in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race to London, and makes them prime contenders to prevail next month at Roland Garros.

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