Rafael Nadal breaks 34-year old record, wins 50 sets in a row on clay

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Rafael Nadal breaks 34-year old record, wins 50 sets in a row on clay

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SportsCafe Desk

05/11/2018

Rafael Nadal won his 50th consecutive set on clay in a win against Diego Schwartzman on Thursday and broke a 34-year old record set by John McEnroe, who won 49 consecutive sets on carpet in 1984. Nadal will face Austrian Dominic Thiem up next in the quarter-finals of Madrid Open on Friday.

World number 1 Rafael Nadal once again asserted his dominance on clay by cruising to the quarter-final of Madrid Open defeating Diego Schwartzman in straight sets of 6-3, 6-4. Along with this win, he also broke a 34-year old record set by John McEnroe of winning 49 consecutive sets on carpet. With 50th consecutive set win, Nadal now holds a new Open era best for consecutive sets won on a single surface.

McEnroe also won the Madrid Open Indoor title that year and Nadal may be about to do the same, with Austrian Dominic Thiem up next in the quarter-finals on Friday. His dominance of clay is a reflection of lack of potent threat for him on clay. Roger Federer has not played on clay for almost two years now while Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have been plagued with injuries over the last two seasons. 

"When my career is over, these are things that are going to be there forever. They are big records. It's difficult to be able to win 50 sets in a row. But I've done it. It's over. Let's not talk about that anymore and let's focus on what we have ahead," Nadal said as quoted by TOI.

While Nadal easily won his match, Juan Martin del Potro, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep all crashed out. Del Potro, led 4-0 in a third-set tie-break but still lost 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) to Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic, who will now face South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber.

"I think I can improve a lot of things towards Rome and Roland Garros. I can level up my game. Right now I'm quite calm," Del Potro said after the match.

2016 and 2017 champion Halep was stunned by Karolina Pliskova in straight sets of 6-4, 6-3. Pliskova will now face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who overcame Russia’s Darja Kasatkina. 

"Even in the warm-up I felt so good today. I think I played one of my best matches this year for sure, and for sure on clay in my life," Pliskova said.

"Today she didn't miss. I didn't play badly in my opinion. I missed in some important moments, that's why it went her way but I'm not very disappointed about this match. She deserved to win," Halep added.

Sharapova, who is set to enter top 40 next week, did show signs of finding her rhythm back this week. Sharapova lost to Kiki Bertens in 3 sets of 4-6, 6-2 and 6-3.

"It was great to get those wins against those players. But there's a reason I came up short today. You also want to evaluate that and go back to the drawing board and start over again," Sharapova explained. 

Bertens, meanwhile, will now face France's Caroline Garcia, who eased past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3.

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