Prior to this match against Dominic Thiem, Nadal had won a record 50 consecutive sets on clay and looked in inspired form.
"You can not be No. 1 with five months without competing", he said. The 19-year-old Canadian will crack the top 30 when the updated ATP world rankings are released.
"The most risky opponent is the one you have to face the next day".
"I think from Shanghai till Monte Carlo, I hadn't finished a single tournament".
I give the Thiem the edge, but likely in three sets.
He added: "I think I placed myself in a good position, more or less".
He lost to Dominic Thiem previous year as well, at the Italian Open. "This is wonderful. So I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did", said Thiem.
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"I am playing against one of the best players of the world". It doesn't mean that I'm done.
"Of course, I'm frustrated". After that, things we can not see in the future.
"On this surface, (Thiem) is one of the most risky players you can face", Nadal said. In the other men's semi-final, Alexander Zverev will play Denis Shapovalov. "It was great to get those wins against those players", said Sharapova, the 2014 champion in Madrid. I love to play here.
The opening eight games went with serve with Shapovalov producing some trademark backhands winners from his single-hander, including one audacious topspin lob. "The differences are very small". Switzerland's Roger Federer takes over at No. 1, but Nadal can reclaim the crown if he wins the title in Rome in his next event.
Nadal extended his winning streak to 50 consecutive sets on clay, eclipsing the mark McEnroe established on carpet in 1984.
Fittingly, Thiem ended that streak Friday, upsetting Nadal 7-5, 6-3 at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain. He was beaten again at 4-3 and finally at 6-3 to end his unbeaten run. "I haven't been good enough today", Nadal said.
Nadal brushed aside Thiem 6-0, 6-2 just three weeks ago at Monte Carlo, where the Austrian was returning after being sidelined for a month due to a broken foot. Like this I should go in every match against him.
Thiem beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 in the early semifinal. Anderson, the 31-year-old US Open finalist last year, who stands a daunting 2.03m (6ft 8in), won largely due to his 15 aces and by making 35 winning shots to Lajovic's 20. The second was marked by a protracted row over a point during which a spectator called out but the mild-mannered Edmund, initially distracted, hung in well to save a match point at 5-6.