Nadal Extends Record Clay-Court Pace

Spaniard to face Garcia-Lopez next

By the time Rafael Nadal finishes his legendary career, will any clay-court record not have his name on it?

The Mallorca native extended his Open-Era clay-court mark on Wednesday during his Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell opener against countryman and Ecuador Open champion Roberto Carballes Baena.

The No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings won his 37th and 38th consecutive sets on clay, extending a record that he set on Sunday when he won his 11th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title. Nadal also stretched his clay-court match-win streak to 15.

Clay-Court Sets Win Streaks

Sets

Player

Year(s)

38

Rafael Nadal

2017-18

35

Guillermo Coria

2003-04

34 Ilie Nastase 1973

32

Rafael Nadal

2010-11

31

Rafael Nadal

2007-08

30

Rafael Nadal

2012

30

Rafael Nadal

2006-07

Nadal has now won 54 of his 57 matches played in Barcelona, where he is going for his 11th title at the ATP World Tour 500 event (2005-09, 2011-13 and 2016-17). In Monte-Carlo, Nadal became the first player to win a tournament 11 times.

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He was challenged at times against Carballes Baena, who brought positive energy and a willingness to fight on Pista Rafa Nadal. The 25-year-old from Granada saved two set points at 5-4 in the first set and had an opportunity to break back. But Nadal erased the break point and clinched the opening set with a forehand drop shot.

In the second, the two traded breaks and were on serve at 4-3, but Nadal broke again and served out the second-round contest to love. The 10-time Barcelona champion will next meet countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the third round. The veteran right-hander advanced after 14th seed Kei Nishikori, who lost to Nadal in the Monte-Carlo final, retired down 3-6.

Open Era Clay-Court Leaders

Player W-L Record Winning Percentage

1) Rafael Nadal

397-35

91.9

2) Bjorn Borg

251-41

86

3) Ivan Lendl

327-76

81.1

4) Guillermo Vilas

659-162

80.3

5) Novak Djokovic

190-49

79.5

Fifth seed Pablo Carreno Busta evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Frenchman Benoit Paire (3-3) with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Carreno Busta won 53 per cent of his second-serve points (10/19) and saved the only break point faced to set a third-round meeting with Paire's countryman 11th seed Adrian Mannarino.

Carreno Busta will try to reach his first quarter-final in Barcelona. The 26-year-old Barcelona resident also fell in the third round in 2017.

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