Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Rafael Nadal looks to seal last-eight spot — Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal looks to seal last-eight spot — Madrid Open

Nadal, who recorded his 20th straight clay-court match win besides also improving his consecutive sets won on clay streak to 48, is bidding to snap John McEnroe's 49-set winning streak on the carpet in 1984.

Rafael Nadal set a new Open Era record with his latest straight sets victory on clay - his 21st win in a row.

In another men's singles clash, Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic will take on Israel's Denis Shapovalov for a last-eight berth, while fifth-seed Dominic Thiem of Austria will lock horns with Croatia's Borna Coric.

It was sixth seed Pliskova's first claycourt victory over Halep and it was the kind of authoritative performance that will turn a few heads as the French Open looms later this month.

"When my career is over, these are things that are going to be there for always. Let's not talk about that any more and let's continue on what we have ahead which is what I am concerned about". "It was a very solid match in all aspects".

Russian former world No.1 Sharapova has shown only flashes of the play that has earned her five grand slam titles since returning from a doping ban previous year.

While Nadal marched on, the top women's players continued to struggle in the Spanish capital after top-ranked Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova both lost in the quarterfinals.

Diego matched Nadal's numbers in the longest rallies but Rafa had the upper hand in the shortest and the mid-range rallies to win 13 points more than his rival.

The surprise package of the draw, which has now opened up nicely on Nadal's half, as Dusan Lajovic beat Juan Martin Del Potro in a tense third set tie-break, and he will. Face Kevin Anderson for the chance for a potential shot at the World No. 1.

"I think I played one of my best matches this year for sure, and for sure on clay in my life", the sixth-seeded Pliskova said.

Halep lost to Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3, ending her bid to become a three-time consecutive champion in Madrid. I am not saying that it's not important, but what is important is I made it to the third round of this tournament.

But like a true champion, Nadal battled back to get on serve immediately, after which he served out the match. He will play German Alexander Zverev, who beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-4 6-2.

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