World number one Rafael Nadal and Austria’s Dominic Thiem will renew their clay-court rivalry when they lock horns in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open here on Friday.
Yesterday, the Spaniard tennis maestro snapped John McEnroe’s 49-set winning streak on the carpet in 1984 during the third round of the men’s singles event in Madrid Arena.
Nadal eased past Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 to not only book his place in the last-eight of the tournament but also clinched his 21st consecutive win on clay.
The top-seed has now improved his consecutive sets won on clay streak to 50 and now, he will face Thiem, who produced a spirited performance to sweep aside Croatia’s Borna Coric 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Nadal, who headed into the tournament on the back of 11th Barcelona Open title and 11th Madrid Open title, is bidding to make it to the semifinals of the Madrid Masters for the sixth straight year.
Nadal and Thiem had previously met each other eight times, with the Spanish star clinching six of those games.
However, the Austrian was the only player to beat Nadal on clay in 2017 besides also being the last person to pick up a set against the top-ranked.
In another quarter-final clash of the men’s singles event, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson will lock horns with Serbia’s DuÅ¡an Lajovic for a place in the semi-finals.