Nadal Wins 21st Straight On Clay, 50th Consecutive Set, Faces Thiem In Madrid QFs
by Staff | May 10th, 2018, 11:11 pm
  • 54 Comments

Rafael Nadal set more records Thursday in Madrid. The Spanish hero rolled past Diego Schwartzman to win his 21st straight match on clay, and set the mark for most consecutive sets won on a single surface at 50, eclipsing John McEnroe’s 49 on the trot on carpet in 1984.

“I really don’t think much about that. All these things, probably after I finish my career will be the time to think about it,” Nadal said of the mark. “I won a difficult match against a very difficult player that played well.”

Up next will be the last man to beat Nadal on clay, Dominic Thiem which was in Rome. The Austrian edged out Borna Coric 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

“Last year was little bit different,” said Thiem about the match up. “I lost to him easily in Barcelona. Then here I was closer to him. It was a really good match here, last year’s final. Then in Rome I was able to play 100 per cent the way it takes to beat him.

“It was one of the best matches of my life. If I want to repeat,” Thiem added. “It takes the same. I have to play very aggressive with not many mistakes.”

Overall, Nadal leads Thiem 6-2.

“Very tough match. Especially here on this surface and even more in altitude. His bounces and topspin are very high and difficult to control,” Nadal said of Thiem. “I need to be ready for tomorrow. It will be a very tough match to play but it’s a good opportunity to play against one of the best players of the world.”

Two favorites fell as Juan Martin del Potro was stunned by qualifier Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) who picked up his first career Top 10 win. Del Potro led 4-0 in the final set breaker.

“It’s for sure my best win, and definitely one of the best matches I’ve played. I really felt good on the court today,” Lajovic said. “I felt I had my chances throughout the whole match. I was fighting from the first point till the last. It paid off.”

Lajovic will now face Kevin Anderson who will try to make his first Masters semifinal after 10 previous failed attempts.

And in the much-anticipated Canadian clash, it was Denis Shapovalov getting the better of Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4. Shapovalov takes on Kyle Edmund tomorrow for a semifinal berth.

Alexander Zverev eased past Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-1. He gets a Miami final rematch against John Isner who needed 32 aces and three breakers to best Pablo Cuevas.

FRIDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
Manolo Santana Starts At 1:00 Pm
QF (Q) Dusan Lajovic VS 6 Kevin Anderson
Not Before 3:00 Pm
SF 7 Caroline Garcia VS Kiki Bertens
Not Before 5:00 Pm
QF 1 Rafael Nadal VS 5 Dominic Thiem
Not Before 8:00 Pm
SF 6 Karolina Pliskova VS 10 Petra Kvitova
Not Before 9:30 Pm
QF 7 John Isner VS 2 Alexander Zverev


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54 Comments for Nadal Wins 21st Straight On Clay, 50th Consecutive Set, Faces Thiem In Madrid QFs

Amit Says:

Nadal is the sickest record-setter ever!! Just ridiculous!! I mean not a single set lost for 2 years!! #HolyCrap 😛😜


Anto Says:

Nadal playing tentatively. His second serve win percent is less than 20%. Extremely low by his standards. He should start to play aggressively. I wont be surprised if he loses


Anto Says:

Nadal got broken playing very nervously. It is like watching the 2015 Nadal.


Willow Says:

I Think when you have played at such a high level for so long, the chances are you will have a let down sooner or later, Thiem is playing at a high level, which takes some doing when it comes to staying with Nadal on this surface ….


Daniel Says:

Wow, Thiem deserved this set. He is winning more poiints on the baseline, super agreesive, changed his retursn ala Federer and went for the clear winner DTL fH to close the set. Ball out by less than an inch. Then loses 2 points after a DF. Nadal lucky in that point.


RZ Says:

A brief Team Thiem whine-session: Why must Thiem almost always end up in the Rafa’s half of the draw in clay court tournaments?


RZ Says:

The Prince of Clay has snagged a set off the King of Clay!


fred stone Says:

Is 37 seconds the new time limit to put the serve in play?


Daniel Says:

chofer,

This is why Thiem was hyped as a potential player to challenge Nadal regularly on clay. Last year Madrid he played great and had set point, Rome match where he won and now this almost flawless set.
He is tactically perfect today. Changed the way he is returning more inside court taking time away from Nadal from the get go. And winning more second serves on Nadal serve, which is the main stat responsible for his current streak. He is winning more than 60% second serves points. Not today at 50%.

Also he is winning more baseline points and Nadal oddily winning the short points.

NAdal also made a bunch of unusal unforeced errors with his FH netting several.


Okiegal Says:

Thank goodness the streak is over! Nice run for Rafa ….breaking Mac’s record and all, but moving on!! He was
probably as sick of hearing it day in and day out as I was………


Okiegal Says:

Yes Fred! LOL!


RZ Says:

@Okie – It’s only the consecutive set streak that is over. His match win on a single surface streak may still be in play. (It ain’t over till it’s over)


Okiegal Says:

Major nerves showing atm….. still human….. even on clay……..


Willow Says:

If ever there was a clay court tournament, where Nadal is vulnerable its always been Madrid, with the altitude ….


Okiegal Says:

Exactly Willow……


Margot Says:

Excellent match and Dom strutting his stuff and playing great. Like new closer to the baseline play too.Thought he was going to blow the set, started to serve quite badly, but steadied ship.
RZ: Yeah, hope they’re in opposite sides of the draw at RG.
For those whinging about next gen, we have Dom, Denis, Kyle and Sascha in the quarters. Yay!


Okiegal Says:

@RZ….. yes that’s true…….


Okiegal Says:

I don’t wanna give up on my guy…..but things ain’t lookin’ too good for him atm….. Theim is giving him a run for his money today……


Willow Says:

Broke back ….


Willow Says:

Okie win or lose Rafa wont give up ….


Willow Says:

Federer will re-claim the number 1 ranking without hitting a ball, so congrats to him ….


Daniel Says:

Fed 1 game away from #1 ranking at least for 1 week😜. If Nadal wins Rome he gets it back before RG. Anything less and Fed keeps #1 till grass Halle.

Go Thiem go!


Humble Rafa Says:

Unspeakable tragedy is about to occur.


Margot Says:

Wow! Well played Dom. Commies to Rafa fans!


RZ Says:

Yay Thiem! (Now don’t go losing this tournament…)


the_mind_reels Says:

@Willow: only fitting, as it’s the same way Nadal took over #1 from Federer in March.

A very good run for Nadal, and I imagine this “extra” time off will be enough for him to roll his way through Paris again in a few weeks!


Daniel Says:

He did breaking again.
Awesome match and big congrats to Thiem sticking to hos game plan.

Now he enter the select groups with 3+ wins on clay versus Rafa. One in 2016, 2017 and 2018 so far.

And Fed starts his fifth stint at #1. Let’s see how long it lasts. Could be one week if Nadal wins Rome. Anything less and it will last untill Halle, for 6 more weeks.

Curious to see how Nadal reacts on Rome where he is titlest last 4 straight years.


Willow Says:

The Mind Reels i have no problem with that, and Dominic Thiem deserved the win today ….


AndyMira Says:

Much congrats to Thiem & Thiem Team!…Hope he will win Madrid..If he can repeat this perfomance in semis & final,the trophy will be his…


ertorque Says:

Congrats Thiem!
It was a very enjoyable match for me. What’s even more remarkable to me is that he lost to a single backhander and we know how rare that is. Put it another way how many single backhander has beaten Rafa on clay in the last decade? This match evokes the same thrill as the one when Stan beat Novak at the French Open.


Daniel Says:

Want a Thiem x Zverev final now. Let the young battle it out. Thiem is do for a first Master and nothing more fitring than on clay.

But Anderson was serving big, a lot of aces and he may be burt by the huge win and fold a bit. Hope not!


Daniel Says:

Entorque,

Federer, Wawrinka and Thiem last decade. Only ones I can think of.
Don’t know if Almagro win is on clay or not.


RZ Says:

Margot – just saw the Rome draw, and sure enough, Thiem and Rafa are in the same quarter.


Okiegal Says:

Congrats to team Thiem! He took it to Rafa today…….played awesome! Fed will go back to #1 and the beat goes on. Two great champions battling it out!! On a brighter note…….with Rafa losing today maybe I can get a few things done……I will pull for my American John, but if he goes out it’s Dom all the way for me. I believe he’ll be the Madrid champion 2018 and get to hoist that horrendous trophy! Lol!!

A big VAMOS still in order for my guy!! 💪💪 Rafa you still da man!!


Humble Rafa Says:

For those celebrating, Madrid is about as far away from RG you could get in terms of conditions. It was never my favorite. Like a big boy, I will take the loss. At least, the loss was to Timmy Boy, who has a good future on clay.


Humble Rafa Says:

To think that the man who skipped the clay court season is number 1, is an insult to all active players.

I also want to be part time, ego maniac who only plays 3 months of the year but my love for the game prevents me from doing it.


Chris Ford Says:

I hate it, but I just can’t root for Isner, even if he is super nice and American. It’s the style of play. I just can’t stand servathons. Like the 90s was infamous for when two good servers met. Bam!! weak return… Putaway Volley!!! Repeat identically on either side until match is over on one mistake. And against a nonbig server it is all about holding serve and taking no risks.

Give me the actual Marathons, even Murray-Ferrer or Rafa-Nole anytime.
Or a non-servbot offense against a Raafa or Novak defense. (Or Andy).


Margot Says:

RZ: Blooming booooo :(


Okiegal Says:

@RZ 1:38…….EEEEK!!!


Chris Ford Says:

UH, oh….Humble Rafa is playing a bit too close to the truth! Of course all those 2nd half hardcourt seasons Rafa missed some or all of Masters and above in 2/3rds the years he has played (not counting the Masters players select to skip to schedule themselves better) were *cough*, injury related.

It is still right – don’t talk love of the game if you only elect to enter tournaments you play good at., to pad career stats.


Humble Rafa Says:

It is still right – don’t talk love of the game if you only elect to enter tournaments you play good at., to pad career stats.

I don’t need to pad anything. I have 10 of everything. I own more people than most people.

What have you accomplished? Invented Model-T and what else?


skeezer Says:

Congrats Fed on your awesome return to #1!


RZ Says:

Looks like the Shapovalov-Edmund match was quite the battle.


Humble Rafa Says:

Congrats Fed on your awesome return to #1!

You are congratulating some one in semi-retirement. You should congratulate him when he returns (he may not be #1 then…).

# lazy


Daniel Says:

Shapo through.

RZ, There was a point, 5-5 30-30 where someone in the crowd call out beofre Shapo serve. edmund stopped. And the point was to Shapo by the rules. But he under fair play knowing Edmund didn’t even move coudl replay the point with a let. Edmund even said it to his face and umire sat the net when all 3 were there. Shapo did not replay the point, part of the crown didn´t like and even boo at him after the win. At leats it made Edmund pissed and he won the second but even so, he was out of it and had to save a MP almost losing the match next game.


RZ Says:

Thanks Daniel – I miss a lot of the drama by tracking scores instead of watching.


Margot Says:

Sasha very impressive, returning Isner’s bullets with interest! Won in two sets, breaking Isner’s serve in the process. Well played pretty boy!


Daniel Says:

Happy whoever wins from the 4, although Anderson don’t excites. Would be weird if he wins his first Master on clay, even altutude Madrid.

Thinking about it, we will have another different masera winnner since Cincy and there is a 75% chance we get another first time Masters winner in the same Spam, it could be the fitth after Grigor, Sock, DelPo and Isner.

Going back to Cincy 2017
- Cincy: Grigor
- Shangai: Federer
- Paris: Sock
- IW: DelPo
- Miami: Isner
- Monte Carlo: Nadal
- Madrid: Zverev / Thiem / Anderson / Shapo

There os already 7 straight Maters with differebt winners. Don’t think this have ever happen.

With Rome and Canada to go we can witness a complete full 9 Masters with 9 different winners.


chofer Says:

I missed the matches today. Unbilievable. I did see Thiem against Delbonis. He should have lost, plain and simple.

He must have played incredible today, free from anything… and Nadal like crap.

Now, its impossible to not consider him for the title. But there’s some Zverev who has possed problem on clay for Thiem in the past. Let’s see.

Some non partisans sure love a new brand final. Good for El Shapo, too. Better than expected. But his clay magic ends tomorrow, I’m afraid.


RZ Says:

@Chofer – actually Thiem’s record against Zverev is very good: 4 wins to 1 loss (that loss was on a hard court). All of their matches have gone 3 sets, though.


Humble Rafa Says:

Daniel,

Most of don’t speak Japanese. Please type in English.

Bow


chofer Says:

RZ

I know. Three tigh sets on second-tier clay events. One, in a final I remember. Let’s see in a Masters 1000 final how it goes. He’s already lost Miami. He wouln’t let this go.


skeezer Says:

@4:16 post

Awww jealous and still job hunting?

“You should congratulate him when he returns (he may not be #1 then…).”
Why? He is #1 now. You types always like to wait for another time. the time is now, tomorrow is tomorrow.


Amit Says:

Of the remaining 4,
I am rooting for Shapo, his play style is so exciting!!! Like half nadal and half federer!! Go Shapo!!!

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