Not only is Nadal now on a 20-match clay-court winning streak, he’s won 48 sets in a row on clay—an Open Era record on this surface. And if he wins his next match in straight sets, he’ll have the new record on any surface (John McEnroe has the current record with 49 straight sets on carpet in 1984).
It was an extremely tough draw for Monfils, a former No. 6 who’s currently down at No. 41 and just returned from a lengthy back injury lay-off last week—Nadal had also dominated their head-to-head, winning 13 of their 15 previous matches, and all five of their encounters on this surface.
Match point from Nadal's win over Monfils in Madrid:
And that domination continued as Nadal held all eight of his service games—saving all three break points he faced in the match—and broke Monfils a total of four times to win in only an hour and 13 minutes.
Fresh off winning both Monte Carlo and Barcelona for the 11th time, Nadal—who’s seeking his sixth career title in Madrid, and fifth since it switched to clay in 2009—is showing no signs of slowing down.
“The start of the clay-court season has been almost perfect for me—I played great events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona—and here we are in Madrid another year,” Nadal said in his pre-tournament presser. “It’s always very special for me to play here in front of the crowd, so I’m excited about it.
“I’m just trying to prepare myself the best way possible, practicing hard every day.”