Eclipsing McEnroe’s winning streak of 49 consecutive sets on clay, Rafael Nadal won 50 sets in a row on the same surface. Nadal comfortably won his match against Diego Schwartzman at the Madrid open with 6-3, 6-4 to break McEnroe’s 34-year-old record. “These are the things that are going to be there for always,” said Nadal. World No-1 is now focused on his next match against Domonic Thiem, a rematch of last year’s final. Thiem is the last player that defeated Nadal on clay, in the quarterfinals at Rome last year.

“It’s difficult to be able to win 50 sets in a row. Well, it’s done. It’s over. Let’s not talk about that anymore and let’s continue on what we have ahead which is what I am concerned about,” Nadal said.

During the match against Schwartzman, Nadal was pushed as much as possible, given his current form. Despite standing just 5-foot-7 and facing a legend, Schwartyzman exploded off the court to take ball, forcing some uncharacteristic baseline errors from Nadal.

In the Madrid open, as Nadal is marching on top women’s players are continuing to struggle in the Spanish capital after top-ranked Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova lost in the Quarterfinals.

Sharapova lost in three sets to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands while Halep, the champion in 2016 and 2017, was blown away by Karolina Pliskova.

It means Pliskova, the sixth seed, is the highest-ranked player left in the women’s draw after Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and Jelena Ostapenko all lost earlier in the week.

Sharapova is set to climb inside the top 40 next week and the 31-year-old will be encouraged by her week’s work in the Spanish capital, where she showed signs she is finding her rhythm.

The Russian arrived on the back of four consecutive defeats but three victories and a narrow 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss to Bertens suggests she could be a threat at the French Open later this month.

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