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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