Nadal Reaches 16th Straight Clay Final in Stuttgart

Posted on July 22, 2007

Top seed and 2005 champion Rafael Nadal today appears in his 16th consecutive clay court final when he meets Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

Nadal has reached his ATP-best eighth final of the season (5-2) and the 21-year-old Spaniard has won 92 of his past 93 matches on clay.

Nadal has advanced to 16 consecutive clay court finals since April 2005, losing only to No. 1 Roger Federer in the final of ATP Masters Series Hamburg on May 20. That defeat stopped Nadal from becoming the first man in ATP Masters Series history (since 1990) to win all three Masters Series clay court titles in the same year.

By defeating countryman Feliciano Lopez in the semifinals without facing a break point, Nadal improved to a 55-8 record on the season (30-1 on clay). He already has won an ATP-best five titles this year. Against Lopez, Nadal won his 26th straight match on clay against a fellow Spaniard since his last loss to David Ferrer in the Stuttgart quarterfinals in 2004.

Nadal has been No. 2 for a record 104 consecutive weeks in the ATP Rankings (since July 25, 2005).

Nadal is 17-1 lifetime in clay finals and his 22-5 mark in career finals on all surfaces is the highest winning percentage (.815) in the Open Era.

Spaniards have won the past two Stuttgart titles: David Ferrer (2006) and Nadal (2005).

Wawrinka will be appearing in his third career ATP final (all on clay), having won his first title in Umag (d. Djokovic) last year. He was runner-up in Gstaad two years ago (l. to Gaudio).

On Saturday, appearing in his first ATP semifinal since Basel last October, Wawrinka upset Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-1. The 22-year-old Swiss native came into the semifinal with a modest 6-11 match record on the season. He missed nearly three months with a knee injury. (ATP Digital Services)