© Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

Dominic Thiem will look to continue his clay-court momentum in Rome.

Thiem Has His Confidence Back After Second Madrid Final

Austrian is now 0-2 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title matches

For the second consecutive year, Dominic Thiem narrowly missed out on winning his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Mutua Madrid Open. Thiem, who fell to Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday, lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Madrid final.

But the 24-year-old Austrian will leave the Spanish capital with something nearly as important as his first Masters 1000 crown: confidence. Thiem beat two Top 10 players – then-No. 1 Nadal and then-No. 8 Kevin Anderson – in addition to BNP Paribas Open semi-finalist Borna Coric and Argentina's Federico Delbonis to reach his second Madrid final.

After quarter-final departures at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Nadal) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (l. to Tsitsipas), Thiem was pleased to again find his best level in Spain.

I didn't have that great of results in the last weeks, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona. Here I got my self-confidence fully back, even [though] I lost today. It was still a good week. I just played bad today, that's it. There is no reason to be worried,” Thiem said.

You May Also Like: Sascha's Madrid Moment: Zverev Streaks To Title

His words mark a strong contrast to what Thiem said before his Friday quarter-final against Nadal. Asked about how he was feeling about the match, Thiem said, “I'm going in the match to win, even though it's not very realistic, the way he plays now, the way I play now.”

A day later, the Austrian snapped the Spaniard's 50-set and 21-match winning streaks on clay and beat him for the second consecutive year on red dirt.

I have the feeling that I have, on clay, a lot of matches in my own hands. Rafa is the player I have to be really at my best, and he cannot have his best day, to beat him. But what I was seeing this week, almost against everybody else, I have it in my own hands. That's a good thing to know,” Thiem said.

He and Zverev have now played six times, with Thiem leading their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-2. Might we see the two 20-somethings face off again in next year's Madrid final? Thiem, at least, is already looking forward to the opportunity.

I really love the tournament. Amazing conditions for me here. It's definitely a goal of mine, that I win here. Two finals, it's very nice, but still I lost this week. I leave Madrid with not the best feeling. I will try to change that to leave one day here as the winner,” Thiem said.

In general, it was a very good week. I hope I will get more chances to win a first Masters [1000].”

More stories like this in: