Record-breaking Nadal brings up half-century, Lajovic stuns del Potro

Rafael Nadal made history in his homeland by bringing up a half-century of consecutive sets won on clay, while Dusan Lajovic shocked Juan Martin del Potro to reach the Madrid Open quarter-finals.

John McEnroe's long-standing Open Era record of 49 straight sets won on a single surface was eclipsed when Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 at the Caja Magica on Thursday.

The world number one produced another imperious performance to make history once again and will face Dominic Thiem, the last man to beat him on the red dirt in Rome last year, at the quarter-final stage.

Lajovic claimed a first victory over a top-10 opponent, the 95-ranked qualifier seeing off fourth seed Del Potro 3-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

Kyle Edmund followed up his win over Novak Djokovic by toppling eighth seed David Goffin 6-3 6-3, while Alexander Zverev eased to a straight-sets success over Leonardo Mayer.

Denis Shapovalov defeated fellow Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4 to advance along with Kevin Anderson and John Isner.

 

RELENTLESS RAFA IN A CLASS OF HIS OWN

Nadal has now won 21 matches in a row on clay since Thiem beat him in the last eight at the Internazionali d'Italia 12 months ago.

He was too powerful, quick and savvy for Schwartzman, who did very little wrong but was unable to halt the Spaniard's incredible run.

McEnroe's record - set on carpet - had stood since 1984, but was wiped out by Nadal, who looks unstoppable with the French Open fast approaching.

Thiem beat Borna Coric in the round of 16 and faces a huge task when he faces Nadal, having lost 6-0 6-2 when they met in Monte Carlo last month. 

 

LAJOVIC CLAIMS BIGGEST WIN

Serbian Lajovic celebrated the biggest win of his career and the shock of the week by claiming the scalp of Del Potro.

World number six Del Potro has two titles to his name this year, but his first clay-court tournament of the season came to a surprise end in the Spanish capital.

"I still am not believing it 100 per cent, but I know that I deserved to win today," Lajovic said. "I'm just feeling week very good on the court, and everything is working so far. I will just keep going with it."

 

ZVEREV SETS UP ISNER SHOWDOWN

Second seed Zverev showed no signs of tiredness as he cruised past Mayer 6-4 6-2 in only 70 minutes.

The German did not finish his second-round clash with Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy until 00:15 local time on Thursday, but returned to the court later in the day to ease through.

Zverev will now come up against Isner, a 6-7 (9-11) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) winner against Pablo Cuevas on a bad day for the South Americans, in a rematch of the Miami Open final won by the American.

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