Fourth seed Rafael Nadal takes on eighth seed Dominic Thiem in the Men's singles quarter-final of 2017 Rome Masters on Friday.
The seven-time champion eased past Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 in his R16 clash whereas Thiem came back from behind to beat American Sam QUerrey in a hard-fought battle 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7).
After beating Thiem in the title matches of Madrid and Barcelona, Nadal once again starts as favourite in today's clash. The King of Clay, who has a 17-0 record on the dirt this season, has been hardly challenged in the ongoing tournament, with his second-round opponent Nicolas Almagro retiring with an injury before Sock was decimated in the third-round yesterday.
While Thiem has the second-best record on clay this season (16-3), the Austrian does not seem to have the answers to crack the Nadal puzzle. While he was blown away 6-4, 6-1 in Madrid, Thiem managed to test the 14-time Grand Slam winner taking the first set to a tie-break before succumbing 7-6, 6-4 in Barcelona.
Notably, all the five meetings between Nadal and Thiem have come on clay, with the former winning them all. His last three wins have come without a set being dropped.
Having lost twice, Thiem will be hoping to get one past Nadal this time. However, the Spaniard, who looks determined to sweep the European clay season before he enters Roland Garros later this month, will be a tought nut to crack even if the Austrian is at his best later today.