Thiem had been the last player to take a set from Nadal on clay, having beaten the top-ranked player in the world in May of 2017 before his undefeated streak began.
Thiem stuck to the baseline and took his groundstrokes early to unsettle Nadal, who was unusually below par in the opening set on his favourite surface, making several unforced errors. The 24-year-old Austrian broke Nadal's serve a whopping five times while winning 66 percent of his second-serve return points and triumphing after one hour and 56 minutes of play.
"I must be honest, I think I did a good job then because I didn't really think of it too much of my 0-10 record in Masters 1000 quarterfinals", said Anderson afterwards.
He also set up a quarter-final meeting with Austrian Dominic Thiem yesterday.
"I am playing against one of the best players of the world". It's hard to be able to win 50 sets in a row. "Small things happen that normally when you're in a good momentum, those things don't happen".
But that remarkable streak was brought to a close as Nadal surrendered the opener, and Thiem refused to let the momentum slip as he delivered a stirring second-set showing to win 7-5 6-3. Thiem has never won a single set off the 31-year South African without requiring a tiebreaker. "That's what I'm working on", he added. It was very important I went into the match with a positive attitude, with an attitude to win. "I should go into every match like this against him".
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"I think I placed myself in a good position".
Thiem, the No. 5 seed, will next face sixth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 victor over Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic. While the win was an upset, Thiem is no pushover - ranked No. 7 in the world and with his best tennis also coming on clay. I am No. 3 in the Race of the year, which is the most important thing.
Denis Shapovalov defeated fellow Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4 to advance along with Kevin Anderson and John Isner. Thiem made the final in this tournament previous year and is much more comfortable on this surface than the South African.
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