Thiem ends Nadal clay-court streak

Thiem ends Nadal clay-court streak

Nadal's straight-sets victory means he establishes a new Open era best for consecutive sets won on a single surface, passing McEnroe's 49 on carpet in 1984.

Thiem, the runner-up to the great Spaniard in the 2017 Madrid final, had been the last player to defeat Nadal on clay at the Italian Open in Rome nearly 12 months ago.

Rafael Nadal suffered his first defeat on clay in 357 days, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Dominic Thiem, the world No 7 from Austria, in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open.

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). He won 21 matches on clay and 50 sets.

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

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Defending champion Nadal, who came into the tournament having won both Monte Carlo and Barcelona for an 11th time, also saw his record 50-set winning streak on clay ended by the fifth-seeded Thiem.

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

However, Nadal will still go into the French Open as the favourite due to the absence of Roger Federer.

But Thiem beat Nadal at his own game, finishing long rallies with winners and avoiding the costly hitting errors that sunk Nadal's title defence. Juan Martin del Potro, Borna Coric, David Goffin, Lucas Pouille, Kyle Edmund and Alexander Zverev have to battle against each other to determine the last semi-finalist and we should get some super exciting matches right from the opening round. "If I had played normal I would have no chance", Thiem said. "So I can't go back to my hotel and think that I have to do a lot of things different to prepare for the next events because that wouldn't be smart". "I will just keep going with it".

Sixth seed Anderson, who was runner-up at last year's U.S. Open, beat Serb Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (3) 3-6 6-3 earlier on Friday.

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