Ruthless Nadal through to quarters

World number one Rafael Nadal continued his superb streak on clay as he defeated Diego Schwartzman to reach the final eight of the Madrid Open on Thursday.

The King of Clay broke John McEnroe’s 34 year old record for the most number of consecutive sets won on any surface, moving to 50 in a row on the red stuff.

Nadal was broken just once in his 6-3, 6-4 win, while winning 68% of his first service points.

In the second set, it looked as though McEnroe’s record could hold firm when a fired up Schwartzman won six points in a row to break back and level matters at 4-4. But like a true champion, Nadal battled back to get on serve immediately, after which he served out the match.

“I really don’t think much about that,” said Nadal of the record afterwards.

“All these things, probably after I finish my career will be the time to think about it. I won a difficult match against a very difficult player that played well.”

The win earns Nadal a date with the talented fifth seed Dominic Thiem, who came back from a set down to defeat Borna Coric 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Elsewhere, Dusan Lajovic earned the biggest win of his career, battling back from a set down to knock out fourth seed Juan Martin Del Potro.

The Serb found an extra gear after going down in the opening set, bouncing back to win the crucial seventh game in the second, after which he consolidated on his way to forcing a deciding set.

The thrilling match went deep into the third and was still anyone’s at 6-6 in the tiebreaker. Lajovic exercised much patience in the final rallies to come out on top, earning his first win over a top ten player.

Lajovic is up against South African sixth seed Kevin Anderson next, who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6(7) earlier in the day.