Rafael Nadal continued his clay-court dominance by dispatching Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets on Sunday to win the Madrid Open.
The victory also marked Nadal's 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
Both players were producing some brilliant winners but Nadal eventually took the breaker 10-8 when Thiem's usually trusty forehand flew just long to end a set which had lasted nearly an hour and a half.
The Spaniard and four-time victor in Madrid got off to a dream start in the 50th meeting between the two great rivals, winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic, with the home crowd wildly celebrating his first point - a potent return which the Serbian could only hit into the ground.
Nadal broke back to win the sixth game and earned three set points at 5-4 but world number nine Thiem saved each one to eventually hold and force the tie-break. I played well also.
"I don't want to go too hard on my wrist", the Japanese player said.
Saturday's match between Djokovic and Nadal will be the 50th between the two great rivals, who have won a combined 26 Grand Slam titles. "As I go along, I hope to continue getting better and getting stronger". Nadal is by far the best clay court player of all time, and he's dominated the surface in a way that no other player has dominated any other surface.
Firmly placed as the World Number 1, after having completed the career Grand Slam, holding all four majors, and winning six of the previous eight Grand Slam trophies, Djokovic's season plunged after the French Open, and the hangover seems to have penetrated 2017.
Ronaldo could be seen smiling with joy as Nadal closed out the final set and booking his place in the latter stage of the tournament.
"I am aware that if I am fit and I can play well, I have the capacity to win important titles and achieve my goals", said Nadal.
The victory leaves Nadal in flawless shape for the Roland Garros where the French Open is set to kick off in a week's time. The 31-year-old Uruguayan won four consecutive three-set matches to make the final four. It was his first final in a Masters 1000 event.
A little less than two weeks ago, Nadal had beaten the 23-year-old Austrian in the finals of the Barcelona Open.
"Things are working out, and I'm very happy for that", he said after his two-hour and 17-minute tussle with a powerful and energetic Thiem. In Monte-Carlo and Barcelona I did well, same here.
He flirted with a break point to level at 5-5 while Nadal was serving for his fifth title in Madrid - a Demi-Decima, if you will. Thiem threw everything but the kitchen sink at Nadal, and he just kept coming, finally converting on his fourth championship point to lift a fifth Madrid title.