MADRID (AP) – Novak Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) to reach the Madrid Open final for the third time.
Djokovic played out Thiem in both tiebreakers, converting on his first match point to create a final against either Rafael Nadal or Stefanos Tsitsipas, who plays later on Saturday.
It will be the second finale of the season for top-ranked Djokovic who started the year by winning the Australian Open.
A Sunday victory will give Djokovic his 33rd Masters 1000 title and tie Nadal for the most part.
Djokovic, who won in Madrid in 2011 and 2016, had only played four sets in the Spanish capital this week prior to the semi-finals. He did not play his quarterfinals because Marin Cilic retired with food poisoning.
The fifth-seeded Thiem had won two straight against Djokovic and tried to make his third straight Madrid final after losing to Nadal in 2017 and Alexander Zverev in 2018. The Austrian also tried to become the first player to win three titles this season, adds to triumphs in Indian Wells and Barcelona.
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