Thiem resisted three championship points but Nadal seized the fourth with a drop shot to the back of the court to clinch his third consecutive clay-court crown, after winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April, and the 72nd tournament win of his career.
Having won Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Nadal is well-placed to add Madrid to what is becoming an impressive trophy collection this season. Seemingly in control with a triple-set point as Thiem served at 4-5, Nadal had his momentum stopped by the courageous shotmaking of Thiem.
However finally Djokovic found a groove with his serve, held to love, and then swung a couple of fine backhand down-the-line shots and a return-of-serve victor for deuce against Nadal. Sometimes against the best players in the world, you even lose when you play well. He also made it to three finals, losing two of them to Roger Federer, including at the Australian Open.
World No 58 Evans had chances to break and recover from a hard start at 4-1 down in the first set, but Vesely showed his fighting spirit by saving every one of Evans's eight break points in the contest.
He's going off shorter, 11/10, and I'm very tempted to take that given the way the Spaniard is playing right now.
"I am convinced that Thiem will be a candidate to win big tournaments in the following years".
Nadal broke Thiem to start the second and carried it all the way to the end of the set, where he ran into trouble closing out as Thiem made one final push.More news: Trump, South Korea's Moon agree to cooperate on North Korea
And on this evidence he needs new guidance as quickly as possible if he is to defend his French Open title as two more forehand errors gifted Nadal another break at the start of the second set. "You never know when it might be the last so I always try to enjoy it".
"I got a break in the first game", Thiem said, as quoted on TennisWorldUSA. "It's really important being able to make it to another final in a Masters 1000, especially here in Madrid, at home".
On the other hand, Thiem gave himself an opportunity to avenge his defeat in the final of Barcelona Open to Nadal when he outclassed Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas in straight sets in his last-four match yesterday.
"I am humble enough to come here and say that I was nervous", said Nadal. "I want to fight again in every match".
"As years go by, depending on the type of victories, (they) can fulfil you a little bit more or less. I'll try to be 100 per cent and ready for tomorrow's match".
A look at the Rome draw throws up plenty of similarities to the one which was pulled out of the hat in Madrid - Murray and Stan Wawrinka are the main men in the top half; Nadal and Djokovic in the bottom. If I'm at my best and he's at his best on clay, he's probably the better player.