ROME (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s winning streak ended at 17 matches as he lost in straight sets to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open on Friday.
Venus Williams is also out of the tournament after the American was defeated 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 by third seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
The result bodes well for Muguruza’s defense of her French Open title.
Thiem’s 6-4, 6-3 victory came after he was beaten by the Spaniard in the Madrid Open final last week.
“Of course I came in with a very aggressive game style, because I knew that if I want to have a chance, then I have to do something different and be more aggressive,” Thiem said. “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.”
The 30-year-old Nadal, who was seeded fourth, had won consecutive clay-court tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid and was aiming for an eighth title at the Foro Italico as he prepares for the French Open in less than two weeks.
“I just have to congratulate (Thiem), because he was better than me this afternoon,” Nadal said. “He played great in all aspects. Just well done for him.
“It’s obvious that I did not play my best match. I have been playing a lot … so is not easy after playing almost every day for the last four weeks,” he said.
Thiem, the No.8 seed, will face four-time champion Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.
Their quarterfinal was postponed by rain, with Djokovic leading 6-1, 1-2, and will resume Saturday.
The 23-year-old Austrian dominated from the start, racing into a 5-1 lead. Nadal…