Rafa Nadal shatters John McEnroe's 34-year-old record

Madrid Open 2018: Rafael Nadal Off To Winning Start

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the shot during the men's singles second round match against Gael Monfils of France at the Madrid Open Tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, May 9, 2018.

The last time Nadal had dropped a set on clay was a year ago in Madrid when playing in the round of 32 against Fabio Fognini.

Nadal extended his winning streak to 50 consecutive sets on clay, eclipsing the mark McEnroe established on carpet in 1984.

Nadal will face Austrian Dominic Thiem in the last eight on Friday in pursuit of a sixth Madrid Open title after beginning the claycourt season by winning an 11th Monte Carlo Masters and lifting the Barcelona Open trophy for the 11th time. "I won a hard match against a very hard player that played well".

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).

Rafael Nadal remains unstoppable on his favorite clay surface, entering the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 13th seed Diego Schwartzman on Thursday. "Let's not talk about that any more and let's continue on what we have ahead which is what I am concerned about".

"These moments I don't go out there and think about these kind of things".

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World No. 3 Alexander Zverev eased into the quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-2 win over Leonardo Mayer and will meet John Isner, who edged Pablo Cuevas, while Denis Shapovalov and Kyle Edmund will do battle in the final last-eight tie.

The five-time champion broke for a third time in the second set to seal his victory, converting his third match point as another Monfils groundstroke flew long. "I'm just feeling week very good on the court, and everything is working so far".

Lajovic will now face South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber.

In the women's, Maria Sharapova lost in three sets to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands while Simona Halep, the champion in 2016 and 2017, was blown away by Karolina Pliskova.

The 31-year-old said there is still a way to go as she gears up for Roland Garros. But there's a reason I came up short today, " Sharapova, languishing down at 52 in the rankings, said.

France's 7th seed, Caroline Garcia also reached the last four after a 6-2, 6-3 over Carla Suarez Navarro, who Kiki Bertens, who on Wednesday beat No. 2 seed Caroline Woznianki, followed that up with a fearless fight back to beat Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

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