With each new clay tournament that comes around, Rafael Nadal is accomplishing a new feat, it seems, and this year’s Madrid Open is no exception.
With defeating Diego Schwartzman in straight sets on Thursday, 6-3, 6-4, Nadal has now broken a 34-year-old record for consecutive sets won on a single surface at 50. The previous record for a player winning on one particular surface was John McEnroe with 49 straight sets on carpet.
What is also impressive is that in all of those consecutive sets won, only once was a player (Martin Kližan) able to get 5 games off of Rafa in a set.
For Thursday’s encounter, the match was closely contested for the first five games in the first set. It was Nadal that struck first blood by breaking Schwartzman in the 6th game when, on break point, David struck a backhand into the net. The world No. 1 rolled from there taking the set 6-3.
In the second set, it was in the 5th game that Nadal was able to break the Argentinian again with a brutal forehand to the corner baseline on break point.
Schawartzman didn’t roll over though as he continued to challenge the champion. He was able to break Rafa right back to level it at 4-4 but felt the pressure on his own service game as he double faulted on break point to give Nadal the lead. Nadal then served out the match to break the record.
Additionally, Rafa has a chance to move ahead of McEnroe in another stat during this tournament. Currently, McEnroe and Nadal are tied at 77 career titles in the Open era. If Nadal is able to defend his title in Madrid then he will move ahead of the former American number one to be in sole position of 4th in all-time wins.
Rafa has not lost on clay since last year’s Italian Open, when he was surprised by Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals.
It will also be Thiem whom Nadal will face in the next round in Madrid. The match is scheduled for Friday.
Featured Image Credit: China Daily
Photo credit: Steelerslounge.com