Rafa Nadal cruised into the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open on Thursday evening with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over Diego Schartwzman of Argentina. On any other day, the win would not attrack much attention but by winning in straight sets, Nadal extended his winning streak on clay to a staggering 50 sets to go past John McEnroe’s record of 49 consecutive sets won on carpet going back to 1984. With the win, Nadal also notched his 21st win on clay as he goes after a sixth Madrid Open title.
The last time Nadal had dropped a set on clay was last year in Madrid when playing in the round of 32 against Fabio Fognini. Since then, Nadal hasn’t dropped a set while going as much as 7-5 against Martin Klizan in Barcelona at the end of April this year. Nadal is on a 13 match winning streak and has only dropped three sets this year while going 28 straight sets overall.
“You find a new stat,” Nadal laughed after being told of the record following his win against Gael Monfils in the previous round. “I’m lost. Each time is a less important stat. Look, if it was important, I had no idea about that stat. I am not saying that it’s not important, but what is important is I made it to the third round of this tournament. I’ve played a really good match. I beat an opponent who is difficult. The feelings are very good,” he had said.
Nadal took the opening set with ease over Schwartzman having broken the Argentine’s serve in the sixth game. The Spaniard, looking for his 11th French Open title, was in commanding position in the second set too leading 4-2 before Schwartzman broke Nadal in a tough battle to level things at 4-4. However, Rafa restored the advantage in the very next game to create an opportunity to serve for the match. As Schwartzman sent his backhand wide, Nadal jumped in joy and complete euphoria to move into the quarterfinal after an hour and 44 minutes. He will next play Austria’s Dominic Thiem who got the better of Borna Coric.