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Nadal’s clay court show

Rafael Nadal broke John McEnroe’s record of 49 straight sets won on the same surface by beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the Madrid Open. Nadal extended his winning streak to 50 consecutive sets on clay, eclipsing the mark McEnroe established on the carpet in 1984.  However, Rafael Nadal’s 21 match and 50 set winning streak snapped by Thiem in Madrid. His unbeaten run of 50 sets is also perhaps a reflection of a lack of rivals, with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, for different reasons, all posing little threat on clay over the past year. Nadal had insisted that his latest milestone had barely crossed his mind but if nothing else, it is a testament to the 31-year-old’s relentless consistency over the past 12 months. The run includes tournament triumphs in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and last year’s French Open, where he will be the clear favourite later this month to claim a 17th major crown. In 1984, our four-time champ John McEnroe set a record that would stand for 34 years – 49 successive sets won on a single surface Rafael Nadal has just broken it by winning the 50th sets in a row on clay. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal comes full circle when he puts 21 match and 50 set clay win streaks on the line against World No. 7 Thiem. Incidentally, Dominic Thiem is the last man to win a set and a match against Nadal on clay, by doing so in May 2017. Just a reminder that Nadal has won 50 consecutive clay court sets dropping only 107 games at an average of 2.14 games dropped per set. 

Nickhil Mani

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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