World number one Novak Djokovic stormed into the semi-finals of the ongoing Madrid Open after Croatian tennis star Marin Cilic withdrew ahead of their last-eight clash of the men's singles event due to food poisoning on Friday.
Cilic, victor of the US Open five years ago, entered Madrid with a 4-6 record and two clay losses but had started getting his game in gear.
Novak Djokovic eased into the Madrid Open quarterfinals by beating Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 7-6 (2) on Thursday. Federer broke back to pull level at 4-4 but the Austrian broke again in the next game, sealing it with a sensational forehand over his opponent before serving out the match.
"I think I deserved the match at the end".
The Serb will now take on Marin Cilic, the ninth seed, who overcame the loss of the first set against Laslo Djere to win in three.
Facing match point and on a second serve, Roger Federer decided it was time for a "panic move".
"I played with better rhythm and showed some positive things", said Nadal, who missed practice time earlier in the week because of a stomach virus. "Happy that I'm going to be fresh for my semifinal".
He has already won two hard-court titles this season, in Dubai and Miami, and is seeking his third Madrid trophy, and first since 2012.
Thiem lost the Madrid final to Nadal in 2017 and to Alexander Zverev in 2018.