Nadal Beats Monfils To Open Quest For Sixth Madrid Crown
Spanish star moves to within two sets of breaking McEnroe’s long-standing record
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal recorded his 20th straight clay-court match win and improved to 48 consecutive sets won on the surface Wednesday as he started his quest for a sixth Mutua Madrid Open trophy.
The Spanish superstar soon dismantled the game of France’s Gael Monfils, hitting 17 winners in a 6-3, 6-1 second-round victory that lasted 74 minutes. He is now two sets shy of breaking John McEnroe’s record of 49 straight sets won on a single surface (carpet) in 1984, including 10 to win the Madrid Indoor Open.
Nadal, who improved to 49-10 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, will next meet fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who will become the Tournament Director in 2019, or No. 13 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
Nadal got off to a 3-0 lead in his first match on Court Manolo Santana, but talented former World No. 6 Monfils didn’t give up fighting and held break point chances in the first (one) and third games (two). Nadal lost just one of his 13 service points in the 31-minute second set that ended with Monfils, the 2008 and 2010 quarter-finalist, striking a backhand long.
Nadal, who turns 32 on 3 June, is now 17-1 on the season (13-0 on clay), which includes 11th titles at both the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Nishikori) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Tsitsipas). He is also 14-2 lifetime against Monfils in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.