It's a great achievement for me - Thiem delights in win over Nadal
Rafael Nadal has been in supreme form on clay, but Dominic Thiem was able to make it third time lucky in recent meetings between the two.
A proud Dominic Thiem reflected on one of the best performances of his career to date after ending Rafael Nadal's lengthy winning streak on clay at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Rising star Thiem, who has displayed impressive form in recent weeks, saw an aggressive approach pay off handsomely as he recorded a hugely impressive 6-4 6-3 victory on Friday.
A seven-time champion in Rome, Nadal came into the contest unbeaten on clay in 2017, but the Spaniard was second-best on this occasion against the player he beat to win titles in Barcelona and Madrid.
"I came in with a very aggressive game style, because I knew that if I wanted to have a chance, then I would have to do something different and be more aggressive," Thiem was quoted as saying by the ATP World Tour's official website.
"I knew that if it goes in, everything, maybe I have a chance. If not, maybe I also lose easy. But today was one of these days where I really felt the ball great on the racquet, and a lot of risky shots went in.
"It was a very, very good performance and I think probably one of my best matches."
Nadal is a hot favourite to win his 10th French Open at Roland Garros next month and Thiem was understandably wary of a comeback from the 'King of Clay' on Friday.
"It's a great achievement for me. If you're up a set and a break, you never feel safe because he just doesn't give you one easy point," the Austrian added.
"You really have to finish the match off, and that's what I did... with a little bit of trouble in my last service game.
"He's this kind of player who never gives up - probably the best fighter in tennis. Especially on clay, it's one of the toughest things to beat him."
Thiem will face either Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin Del Potro in the last four. He has yet to record a victory over either player.