The end came sooner than expected for Rafael Nadal at the ongoing Rome Master Tennis tournament.

He made a grand exit at the quarter final.

Dominic Thiem masterminded Nadal's early exit as it were; beating the supposed clay king 6-4 6-3.

Before Friday's outing, Nadal had beaten Thiem in both the Madrid and Barcelona finals, but the Austrian world no 7 was able to get back his own pound of flesh.

Thiem, who is  the first man to beat Nadal on clay in 2017, also doubles as the first Austrian to reach the semi-final of the Rome Masters since 1996 after compatriot, Thomas Muster, who then went on to beat Richard Krajicek.

With his booming forehands, Thiem raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set and even though Nadal fought back to 5-4, the 23-year-old held on to win 6-4.

The second set went on until the seventh game when Thiem broke and raced to the end 6-3.