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Nadal breaks John McEnroe record with 50th consecutive win

Madrid :Rafael Nadal won his 50th consecutive set on clay to break John McEnroe’s 34-year record and beat Diego Schwartzman at the Madrid Open.

Nadal’s comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory moves him into the quarter-finals in the Spanish capital and means he sets a new Open era best for the longest streak of victorious sets on a single surface.

 

McEnroe’s 49-set winning streak on carpet in 1984 included him clinching the Madrid Indoor Open title and Nadal may well be about to follow suit.

He will play Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Friday for a place in the last four.

Juan Martin del Porto led 4-0 in a third-set tie-break but still lost to Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic.

Lajovic gave up a break in the deciding set and made a nightmare start in the tie-break but came from behind to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6).

He will now face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Novak Djokovic’s conqueror, Kyle Edmund, maintained his strong run with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over eighth seed David Goffin.

Edmund will face Denis Shapovalov, who came through his all-Canadian clash with Milos Raonic, 6-4, 6-4.

In the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep continued the flurry of big-name casualties at the Madrid Open on Thursday as both crashed out in the quarter-finals.

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.

Pliskova’s 6-4, 6-3 win means she will play either two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or the talented Russian Daria Kasatkina for a place in the final on Saturday.

“Even in the warm-up I felt so good today,” Pliskova said.

“I think I played one of my best matches this year for sure, and for sure on clay in my life.”

Halep said: “Today she didn’t miss. I didn’t play badly in my opinion.

“I missed in some important moments, that’s why it went her way but I’m not very disappointed about this match. She deserved to win.”