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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rafael Nadal breaks historic record of consecutive sets without losing

Por Rory

Rafael Nadal broke the mark of John McEnroe, of 49 consecutive sets won on the same surface, to beat on Thursday the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4 in the last 16 of the Madrid Open. Nadal extended his streak to 50 consecutive sets on clay eclipsing the record set by McEnroe in 1984 on synthetic courts. "It's circumstantial. I do not despise any record, but right now I'm not thinking about this kind of thing. When I go out to play I think about my rival and when my career ends, they are things that are left, "commented the Spaniard. "It's very difficult to win 50 straight sets. It's been done, but that's it, let's not talk about it anymore and think about what really matters to me."

Neither the Argentine Diego Schwartzman, 25 years old, was able to snatch a sleeve to Nadal. The last one to do it was the Austrian Dominic Thiem, in May 2017 in the quarters of Rome. And will be the rival this Friday of the Balearic in the quarters of the Mutua Madrid Open, in a repetition of a duel that the last edition was developed in the final. The Austrian beat Borna Coric by 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, and has been the last player to beat Nadal on clay, last year in Rome. "It's a key match in the tournament, against a very difficult player, a great opportunity to play against one of the best in the world," said Nadal.

Nadal has beaten Schwartzman for the fifth time in his career. 6-3 and 6-4 in 1h.44' of a game of intense rhythm, since the' Peque '(by his 1.70 meters of height) is talented and also of those who do not wrinkle for many stripes that look the opponent. But this Rafa Nadal is light years ahead of the possibilities of Schwartzman, as of most racket professionals. The man of the 11 titles in Monte Carlo and Godó accumulates 21 consecutive games dominated on the surface that more power his qualities. Schwartzman gave himself to the maximum, was at a high level, but it did not reach him. He watched Nadal at times, but he demands so much that he ends up wearing out the opponent, unbalances him with either own winning hits or by forcing the mistakes of the opponent, who takes the limit.

So much so, that Diego was able to recover a 'break' against in the second set, from 4-2 to 4-4. Nadal was not bothered by that little slip, continued to bite and exerted so much pressure on Schwartzman, who delivered his service with two lethal double chained faults. The South American did not want to throw the towel, but Rafa was already in charge of leaving him KOT. Nadal, this Friday returns to the small classic of land with Dominic Thiem, who dominates by 6-2, including the final of Madrid 2017 (7-6 and 6-4) and the recent in Monte Carlo, 6-0 and 6-2 . The Austrian had to overcome in eighths against Borna Coric, whom he defeated 2-6, 7-6 (5) and 6-4 after serving for the Croatian with 5-4 in the second set. Nadal, ready because Schwartzman came out as answer as expected. And "I've messed up a bit," Rafa warned about losing the advantage 'break' with 4-3 and taking off in the second set. A small accident that did not undermine his confidence. "And I had not trained at night and the conditions at this time are different, the sensations change".

While the Spaniard continued his imperial domination on clay, the most outstanding women of the circuit continued to work in the Spanish capital, after the elimination of Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals. Among the men, the Argentine Juan Martin del Potro was also left out. Del Potro was wrecked in the last 16 when he succumbed 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) before the Serbian Dusan Lajovic, 95 in the world ranking. Lajovic turned a 0-4 in the decisive tiebreaker to leave out the fourth seed of the tournament on clay and achieve the first victory of his career against a Top 10 player. Second-seeded Alexander Zverev undid 6-4, 6-2 of Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-2 and will meet in the third round with John Isner, who eliminated Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-7 (9 ), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in almost 2 and a half hours.

The reign of Halep in the Spanish capital came to an end by falling 6-4, 6-3 to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals of the women's draw. Halep, the current number one ranking, had a run of 15 wins in Madrid. But the Czech Pliskova did not give her opportunities, breaking the service four times and achieving 20 winners. "It was one of my best matches this year," said Pliskova, sixth seed in Madrid. "I feel incredible, since in the last six duels I lost with her. I never thought I was going to win her. My serve was excellent and everything went well." Pliskova's only previous victory in her seven previous meetings with Halep was in the 2016 Federation Cup. Pliskova won the tenth title of his career in April, winning the clay final of the Stuttgart tournament. In the semifinals will be measured with Petra Kvitova or Daria Kasatkina.

Pliskova has remained as the highest-ranked in the tournament, after Danish Caroline Wozniacki (2) and Hispanic-Venezuelan Garbiñe Muguruza (3) lost on Wednesday. The Dutch Kiki Bertens, on the other hand, gave account 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 of the Russian Sharapova. The Frenchwoman Caroline García also advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Spanish Carla Suárez Navarro. Garcia will see them now with Bertens. In the men's section, the British Kyle Edmund continued his good pace in Spain, beating the Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 6-4 in the third round. Edmund eliminated Novak Djokovic on Wednesday. In a duel between Canadians, Denis Shapovalov defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4.