Kvitova pips Pliskova to enter final

Kvitova pips Pliskova to enter final

POWERFUL: Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova returns during her win over compatriot Karolina Pliskova in the Madrid Open semifinal. Reuters

Petra Kvitova who came through an all-Czech semifinal with Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (4), 6-3 to enter the summit round of the Madrid Open.

A key moment came in the eighth game of the first set when Kvitova landed an impressive forehand to force the game to deuce and prevent Pliskova taking a 5-3 lead.

The two-time Madrid champion eventually broke her compatriot to level the first set and edged the tiebreak as Pliskova double-faulted to hand her a two-point advantage which Kvitova pounced on.

Kvitova carried that momentum into the second set and closed the match out when Pliskova could only smash a backhand beyond the baseline. Kvitova will face Kiki Bertens of Netherlands in the final. 

In the men's section, British number one Kyle Edmund's Madrid adventure ended with a 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4 loss to Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who will face Alexander Zverev in Saturday's other semifinal after the German overcame American John Isner 6-4, 7-5.

Edmund knocked out former world number one Novak Djokovic in the second round and 10th-ranked David Goffin in the last 16 but finally succumbed to 19-year-old Shapovalov after saving a match point in the second as he went on to level the match.

Zverev only surrendered six service points against Isner and won 30 when facing serve, taking advantage of the American's physical struggles as the match progressed.

Rafael Nadal suffered his first clay-court defeat in almost a year when the world number one was shocked 7-5, 6-3 by Austria's Dominic Thiem in quarterfinals.

Defending champion Nadal, who came into the tournament having won both Monte Carlo and Barcelona for an 11th time, also saw his record 50-set winning streak on clay ended by the fifth-seeded Thiem.

Thiem, the runner-up to the great Spaniard in the 2017 Madrid final, had been the last player to defeat Nadal on clay at the 2017 Italian Open in Rome -- 357 days ago.

The shock result also means that Roger Federer will reclaim the world number one ranking on Monday.

"A player like Dominic has a lot of potential. Whenever he plays really well, it's very difficult to stop him," admitted Nadal.

"He played well and I didn't play well. We're not playing a game where the differences are big or massive. The differences are very small."

Five-time Madrid winner Nadal, who will be bidding for an 11th French Open title in Paris later this month, had won his previous 21 matches on clay.