Zverev beats Shapovalov, to face Thiem in Madrid final

Zverev beats Shapovalov, to face Thiem in Madrid final

However, Thiem continued his winning march at the expense of the US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson.

South African Anderson, seeded sixth, was playing in his first Masters 1000 semi-final but faded after a solid start, unable to make an impression on Thiem's heavy baseline game.

A day after ending Rafael Nadal's incredible record run on clay, Thiem returned to dispatch big-hitting Anderson 6-4, 6-2 to book his place in Sunday's final. The Austrian is now only one of three players - alongside Novak Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio - to defeat the Spaniard on three or more occasions on clay.

'Rafa feels over there probably the best of all clay court conditions that there are, ' he added.

Zverev already has two Masters 1000 titles to his name, and his greater experience told in the ninth game. Zverev also won four consecutive times last week at the BMW Open by FWU in Munich to celebrate his first title of the year.

Shapovalov framed a forehand at 30-30 to offer the first break point of the match and Zverev pounced with a crunching backhand return his opponent fended into the net.

Zverev and Thiem have faced each other five times, with the Austrian taking four wins. Thiem will need to maintain his level if he is to claim a first Masters 1000 title on Sunday although her does boast a 4-1 career head-to-head lead over Zverev.

Manchester City looking to finish with a flourish
The Saints will be without defender Jan Bednarek, who picked up a head injury in the club's midweek win over Swansea . The Citizens have scored at least three goals in each of their last three away games in the league.

Alexander Zverev holds the winner's trophy after his straight sets victory against Dominic Thiem in the men's final during the Mutua Madrid Open at the Caja Magica, in Madrid, Spain, on May 13, 2018.

Zverev, 21, broke again right at the start of the second but squandered the chance of a double-break two games later as Thiem, conqueror of Rafael Nadal in the last eight, hung on.

Last year's finalist has gradually improved on clay in the last two years and has to be considered among the favourites for this year's French Open, based on his improving form.

"Of course I am disappointed", Nadal said. "But I was keeping my level up from yesterday, so that was a great thing".

"Well, three weeks ago I beat him 6-0 6-3".

Nadal said on Thursday, after breaking John McEnroe's 1984 record for sets won on the same surface by winning his 50th straight set on clay, that he expected the match against Thiem to be "key to this tournament". "Almost everything worked out". "So far it's been pretty good for me on clay this year. Now, I'm in the final again, which is incredible to me".